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Ngbandi Ngbaka Mask Congo African Art

Product #: 91860
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Title Ngbandi Ngbaka Mask Congo African Art
Type of Object Mask
Country of Origin Democratic Republic of Congo/(Zaire)
People Ngbandi, Ngbaka
Materials Wood and pigment
Approximate Age second half 20th Century
Dimensions 10.75 inches H. x 7.5 inches W.
Overall Condition Good. Most of our pieces have spent decades on at least two continents, and have been treasured by several owners.   Small splits, scrapes and cracks are a normal part of their patina attesting to their age and extensive use.  We examine each piece carefully when we receive it and report any damage we find in our listings.  Please look carefully at the pictures which may also reveal condition and damage.
Damage/Repair old crack in one side of the face, chips, wear

Additional Information:

Wooden face mask characterized by a heart-shaped face, a finial triangular nose, open eyes and mouth. The face is adorned with white pigment. . This mask is identified with both the Ngbandi and Ngbaka from the Northwestern part of the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Masks of this area are known by the line of incisions or heavy bridge of scarification reaching from the hairline across the forehead ending more than half-way down the nose, as seen on this mask.

The Ngbandi and Ngbaka live in an area bounded by the Ubangi and Lualaba River systems with the Ngombe scattered along the Lualaba River The Ngbaka moved into the area inhabited by the Ngbandi.They are mainly subsistence farmers, raising manioc and maize, and also chickens and goats for eggs and milk. The traditional game animals in their area have essentially been hunted to extinction, so they have to depend on fishing for protein. The Ngbaka believe in a supreme deity, Gbonboso, whose message was brought to Earth by two spirit messengers--Seto and Nabo--who are recognized as the original ancestors of the Ngbaka people. Their art, like much of the creative output from the Ubangi region, is poorly understood even today.Their main artistic output are the spirit/ancestor statues which are thought to represent Seto and Nabo. Both groups share sculpture forms and the details of scarification that often leads to some confusion as to the attribution of their masks. Though both groups use masks they are less numerous among the Ngbandi than among the Ngbaka where masks are known as Dagara and are used during initiation ceremonies known as Ganza or Gaza for young men and when boys are circumcised. Their masks are also used for agricultural ceremonies.

I have examined this piece and agree with the description.
Niangi Batulukisi, PhD.

This is a rare example illustrating the artistic talent of Ngbandi or Ngbaka artists.

Recommended Reading:

Burssens, H. Les Peuplades de l entre Congo-Ubangi (Ngbandi,Ngbaka, Mbandj, Ngombe, et gens d eau). 1958.Burssens, H. Sculptures in the Ngbandi Style . Kongo Overzee. 1958.Cornet, J. Art of Africa. 1971.Maes, J., Les Ngbaka. 1984.

I have examined this piece and agree with the description

Niangi Batulukisi, Ph.D.