Old Pende Mask – KIPOKO (Kiphoko – Giphogo) – DR Congo
Early to mid 20th century. Polychrome wood. Cm. 32,0 high x cm. 30 width x cm 30,0 depth (12.60″ x 11.81″ x 11.81″). Very good conditions.
Provenance: former private collection from Belgium: ex Decoster Collection.
The Pende people have many different kinds of masks they wear, especially at adult initiation rituals. The giphogo is one such mask. The giphogo is a symbol of power used by chiefs of the Eastern Pende. Only chiefs are allowed to dance with this type of mask.
The mask is used for a number of community functions, the most important of which is to venerate and give thanks to the Chief and ancestors for successful harvests, healing, fertility and protection. By giving thanks, the community ensures continued blessings from ancestors. The mask is also used during the mukanda initiation ceremony that marks the end of male circumcision rituals. The initiates take a bite of ritualistic food placed on the tip of the mask’s nose while at the same time swearing to keep secret the lessons learned during the mukanda rites.
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