Additional Information: A classic Pende face mask with headdress made out of raffia fibers and cotton threads.The face presents details typical of the Pende Katundu style. Facial features included bold wringles on the forehead, eyebrows in relief, lowered semi-open eyes, a pointed nose, scarification in relief on cheeks, and an open mouth with protruding lips and carved teeth painted in white. The expressive attitude is emphasized with the use metal nails in forehead, in temples, and in cheeks.
A beautiful example of Pende masks that woul be a good addition to a collection.
Masks of this kind are commonly referred to as "mbuya." Mbuya masks dance during the ceremonies of circumcision and initiation of young boys (Mukanda). Each Mbuya mask is assigned a specific name related to the character the mask is asked to play. There are several characters. A single mask can play one or more characters when performing. Masks of this form may represent a young flirt (Gabuku) or a diviner (Nganga Ngombo).
Though the Pende are divided into two geographically distinct groups, with considerable artistic differences, they still consider themselves one people and are both well-known for their initiation and circumcision masks. Their proximity to Angola and the cultures of the old Lunda Empire, like the Chokwe, make their masks and prestige objects among the most diverse and beautiful in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
I have examined this piece and agree with the description.
Niangi Batulukisi, PhD.