The Bembe are an ethnic group located in the eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo. The bembe made many masks for various purposes like circumcision, initiation and ancestral ceremonies. This particular mask “eluba mask” is a circumcision mask used during initiation of boys to men, the bembe believed that a child could only attain its true anthropological status by being recreated. Without circumcision, a boy could not marry or participate in any social function. During the circumcision camps, boys had to go through many stages and these stages had to be observed. The circumciser “wondolomina” used this mask to hide his face during the circumcision operation. It has an alteration of red ocher (red pigment) and black patina, traces of kaolin meant to represent a very dangerous nature of whoever wore it. This is an old mask with signs of usage.
Material: Light wood and traces of kaolin
Origin: Democratic Republic Of Congo
|Dimensions||1.5 × 15 × 24 cm|