M6Y9M524.jpg (48301 bytes)Yombe (Bayombe, Mayombe, Mayumba, Yumbe), Democratic Republic of the Congo

Ceremonial mask. The 300,000 Yombe people live in the Lower Zaire River, the region very important in the artistic history of Black Africa. The country that the Yombe inhabit is covered by forest. The Yombe are artistically prolific people. Particularly striking is the realism of Yombe masks. Among the several types of their masks, some, like this one, are painted white with the hair and some parts of the face are black. It is thought that such masks are idealized representations of the diviners who wore them. It is also known that such masks played an integral role in the real-life drama of prosecuting antisocial acts in Yombe communities. In this context, these masks inspired confidence in the divination specialist’s (diphomba’s) ability to dispense justice and install fear in the minds of people with guilty consciences.

Material: wood, nails, glass

Size: 12”x6”x6”

M6Y9M524S.jpg (52930 bytes)