Salampasu (Asalampasu, Basalampasu, Mpasu, Sala Mpasu), Democratic Republic of the Congo
Ceremonial mask. A warrior people comprising 60,000 individuals, the Salampasu live in Shaba province between the rivers Lulua and Lueta, tributaries of the Kasai River. Their name is said to mean hunters of locusts, but they were widely viewed with terror by adjacent groups. They are constituted by independent lineages, without a centralized system of power. The chiefs are chosen from among those who have shown the most aptitude for leadership. They have retained the customs of a rough and primitive life. The Salampasu live mostly from hunting, but the women do some farming. The masks, regardless of their material composition, are worn in the initiation rites of mens associations, on occasion of bereavement or enthronement, as well as to pay homage to headhunters. The costume, composed of animal skins, feathers, and fibers, is as important as the mask itself. Salampasu masquerades were held in wooden enclosures decorated with anthropomorphic figures carved in relief.
Material: wood, copper sheets, vegetable fiber
Size: H. 11½, W. 7, D. 7½