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Mbangu distorted mask – Wood – Pende – Congo


In stock

SKU: 55. Pende Categories: , Tags: , ,

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.
Good condition with a wonderful aged patina.

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
Small holes over eyelids, front and cheeks (representing smallpox scars)

Provenance: former private collection of the Netherlands.

Object: Mbangu distorted mask
Ethnic group/ culture: Pende
Region/ country: Congo
Material: Wood, Textile
Period: Mid 20th century
Condition: Good
Sold with stand: No
Dimensions: 28×19×13 cm
Weight: 600 g


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