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- Country of origin: DR of the Congo
- Size: 41 cm H x 20 cm W
- Materials: wood, kaolin, pigments
- Decorative african art
Nicely carved Lwalu mask 'Picasso style'.
Masks are the primary art form of the Lwalwa people who live near the Kasai River in the Dem. Rep. of the Congo. Lwalwa masks serve to witness initiations and circumcisions of the youths and some are danced during hunting rituals.
Lwalwa masks display a balanced composition, an enlarged angular nose, a protruding mouth and narrow slotted eyes. These sharply delineated features give Lwalwa art an almost geometric appearance. The shapes of the nose are modeled after different birds. The choreography of masked dances was highly complex and had to appease the spirits of the ancestors and compel them to intervene.
Masks still play a role today in secular festivities but now the mask dances are performed for payment, and their magic has largely given way to entertainment.
2nd half of the 20th century
©2017 Bert's Gallery of Tribal Art