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Bembe Tribe Owl Mask

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Bembe Mask 1
6.00 LBS
$25.00 (Fixed shipping cost)

Product Description

The Bembe are a subgroup of the Luba people in the Congo. The Bembe migrated to Tanzania in the 18th century. Despite moving their physical presence from the region the Bembe retained their commitment to practices of the Bwandi secret society.

In Africa many tribal members daily activities, social behavior, class ranking, ways of life and governmental rule are dominated by subgroups within the tribe called secret societies. Often tribal elders who are thought to possess the ability to understand and summon supernatural and ancestral entities control these socio- religious cultures. The Bembe people are guided by such associations.

Most of Bembe crafting endeavors such as masks, statuary and fetishes, are geared toward usage during Bwandi, Alunga or Elanda societal rituals. The Bembe art style was initially influenced by their Lega and Buyu neighbors. In time Bembe tribal works developed their own unique artistic signature.

The facial covering that you are viewing was used during male rite of passage ceremonies. This mask exhibits classic signature Bembe artistic traits. Large dominating, sometimes with overlaying layers are ovular, concave eye sockets that surround bulging eyelids that shield coffee bean shaped eyes. These masks are inspired by owls which represents the balance between Day and Night, Good and Evil. Wooden masks of this kind are normally placed in a sacred cave and brought out when the particular ritual requires it.

Worn creamy kaolin powder surrounds the budging bean shaped eyes which at one time where brilliantly highlighted by , red lower under eye folds. The same pigmentation was used to demarcate tribal motifs along the lower sides and singular horizontal strip placed under the lateral cylindrical nose. Crafted in the 20th century a minor age related crack has occurred on the lower end of the backside running upwards not deep enough to penetrate the front. An older repair is evident along with flaking patina that has naturally exposed the well aged wood.

Our mask is truly exquisite. A marvelous representation of Bembe fine art...Enjoy!

Please click photo for enlargements

Dimensions: 13 inches tall x 10 1/2 inches across x 2 inches deep.


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*Free or fixed shipping for domestic orders only*


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