A Fine Kumu Initiantion Mask – DR Congo

Wood, mineral pigments cm. 32,5 high x cm. 18,0 width (12.80″ x 7.09″); grams 262,0 (9.24 oz.). Former Belgian collection.

This rafined mask come from clans living in the north of the Ituri region. The only detail on the protruding mouth is a crenellation representing a dentition; this decoration evokes the animal world, with color pigments similarto thoose that adorn the bodies during initiation rites.

The Kumo live in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo in the rain forest and rolling hills. They come from Bantu stock who migrated southward from modern day Cameroon to the Congo River Basin, then upstream toward the Ituri, Maiko and Lowa tributaries, beginning around 1000 B.C. The Komo are hospitable people, who have historically been persecuted, both by Swahili traders and by Belgian colonialists. They were Animists who came under Christian influence in the mid-1930s. Now they have a Christian verneer over their Animist worldview.


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Weight2020 g