Kuba Mask from Zaire - Ngaady A MWaash

  • Product Code: K1-3
  • Dimensions: 11" x 17" x 11"
  • Availability: In Stock
  • USD $


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Ngaady A MWaash - From the Kuba people in the Democratic Republic of Congo. The Kuba are a confederation of nineteen ethnic groups dominated by the Bushong, and they can trace the history of their kingdom back through the reigns of more than 100 kings. The Kuba make over twenty masks which are considered the embodiments of spirits. The three most significant (Mwaash, Amboy, & Bwoom) belong to the royal family and illustrate their history. The events in which the masks are used, initiation ceremonies or celebrations, are under royal patronage. The Kuba believe in a supreme being called Nyeem, who created the world. Woot is the legendary founder of the Bushong people, the Kuba equivalent of Adam, and was their first king. This mask - Ngaady A Mwaash (alternately Ngady Amwaash), represents Mweel, Woot's sister and wife, and it is believed that their incestuous union created people. The face of the mask is made of wood, and it is supplemented with glass beads and cowry shells over a raffia hood. It covers the entire head of the wearer. It has a somewhat naturalistic face painted with geometric patterns. The triangular pattern is supposedly modelled after the scales of a pangolin. The diagonal lines beneath the eyes represent tears. The mask lacks obvious determinants of gender, which is primarily communicated through the mode the dance performance of the wearer. Ref.: Finley; Hahner-Herzog, Kecskesi, & Vajda; Ref.: Stepan, Hahner.

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