Lele Mask

  • Product Code: LEL4-170
  • Dimensions: 10" x 20" x 11"
  • Availability: In Stock
  • USD $


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The Lele people of the Democratic Republic of the Congo number approximately 30,000 and they produce art which is similar to that of their neighbors to the east, the Kuba people, to whom they are related by language. Lele masks are used principally for funerals of chiefs, and they usually have relatively flat facial planes with incised designs. Also typical of Lele masks are slit eyes which are surrounded by multiple lines. Lele masks are also worn at the annual founding celebrations. This particular mask depicts a woman with a somber demeanor, and her carved wood face is topped with a cloth cap which is decorated with detailed beadwork and cowrie shells. Her mouth is almost a dot, and the customarily slit eyes are almost totally closed, presenting a mute presence, which seems almost to have left the earthly realm, as if to be a sentinel or guardian between this realm and that beyond. -Robbins/Nooter -Bacquart

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