240401 - Antique African Soko Mutu mask from the Luba - Congo.


ANTIQUE African Soko Mutu mask from the Luba, Congo. Hand carved from a single piece of dark wood, with decoration.

Height: 26 cm.

This Soko Mutu mask dates from the first half 20th century and was purchased in my private collection in 2003, with a certificate of authenticity.

The vast Luba territory, comprising the entire southeastern part of the DRC, as far as Tanganyika and Lake Mweru, is uniform as regards language and culture, but racially mixed. Although the history of the Luba people is one of violence and warfare, their artistic style is characterized by harmonious integration of organically related forms. The splendid artistic achievements of the Luba are due to a felicitous intermingling of different racial and cultural elements, and to the high standards prevailing at the court. Luba arts counts amongst the finest that Africa has to offer. Artists occupied a privileged place in the hierarchy. The Luba artist carried a ceremonial ax on his shoulder, an emblem of prestige and of dignity of his position. Some apprentices would be recruited from among the deformed, who could neither hunt nor be warriors and who were believed to have a close connection.