D5P7M040S.jpg (38629 bytes)D5P7M040.jpg (51387 bytes)Kasai Pende (Eastern Pende), Democratic Republic of the Congo

Circumcision Mask. The 500,000 Pende people form about sixty little territorial groups, the two most important being Kwilu and Kasai. Every group comprises several clans and each is headed by a chief whose main function is religious. He is a mediator with the ancestors who are the sources of health, fecundity and fertility of the people. The Pende are mainly farmers who produce millet, maize, plantain, and peanuts. The women do the majority of the farm work and are wholly responsible for selling goods in the community markets. The men help with the clearing of the fields and also contribute to the diet with occasional hunting and fishing in the numerous local rivers. The sculptor’s profession is transmitted from father to son. The presented mask is a circumcision mask. These masks are numerous and have usually triangular face. The manner in which the eyes are carved is an important element in determining the ceremonial category of the mask. The eyes range from tubular shapes to horizontally elongated forms, as is the case here.

Material:  wood

Size:  H. 11”, W. 5”, D. 2”