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Large and rare Mbangu disorted figure from the Pende people of DR Congo. Distorted faces are rarely depicted in African art. For the Pende, they represent the effect of an epileptic seizure, which was thought to be a manifestation of the spirits. The use of black pigments emphasizes the overall distortion of the faces.
Face is half black, half white
White symbolic of spirits of the dead (represents hope of illness cure)
Black symbolic of sickness and illness
One side of face is pulled down (facial paralysis)
Very long nose
Long narrow face
Angular expression of cheekbones (peanut shape to face)
Face pulled down on one side by a paralysis of the facial nerve.
Overall good condition with traces of wear and tear.
The right arm contains a crack in the wood.