240334 - Nice Old African Ngbandi or Dagara mask - Certificate- Congo.


Old African Ngbandi or Dagara mask, Congo.
Hand carved from a single piece of wood, with color pigments.
Height: 31 cm.
This Ngbandi or Dagara mask was collected in the 1940's and ended up in my private collection in 1995.

This mask is from the mid of the 20th century, with a certificate of authenticity.

Ngbandi and Ngbaka live in an area bounded by the Ubangi and Lualaba River systems with the Ngombe scattered along the Lualaba River The Ngbaka moved into the area inhabited by the Ngbandi. They are mainly subsistence farmers, raising manioc and maize, and also chickens and goats for eggs and milk. The traditional game animals in their area have essentially been hunted to extinction, so they have to depend on fishing for protein. The Ngbaka believe in a supreme deity, Gbonboso, whose message was brought to Earth by two spirit messengers--Seto and Nabo--who are recognized as the original ancestors of the Ngbaka people. Their art, like much of the creative output from the Ubangi region, is poorly understood even today. Their main artistic output is the spirit/ancestor statues and masks which are thought to represent Seto and Nabo. Both groups share sculpture forms and the details of scarification that often lead to some confusion as to the attribution of their masks. Though both groups use masks they are less numerous among the Ngbandi than among the Ngbaka where masks are known as Dagara and are used during initiation ceremonies known as Ganza or Gaza for young men and when boys are circumcised. Their masks are also used for agricultural ceremonies.