210957 - Tribal used African mask from the Luba - Congo.
Tribal used African mask from the Luba, Congo.
Hand carved from a single piece of dark wood, with decoration.
Height: 37 cm.
This mask was collected between 1950 and 1961 and ended up in my private collection in 1998.
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.