Among the range of Pende masks the human and animal are often linked,
and in the West Kasai one particular type seems to share a
masquerading and an architectural function. The lateral elongation of
the panya ngombe mask relates to the buffalo which itself has
The Pende live in the southwestern part of Zaire. They are mainly
farmers, producing millet, maize, plantain and peanuts. The women do
most of the farm work and all of the selling of goods in community
markets. Men help clear fields and occasionally hunt and fish for
additional food. The Pende people are matrilineal, with the eldest
maternal uncle recognized as the head of the family with
responsibility for the well-being of the family and taking care of
the ancestors. The Pende carve several types of masks, mostly
associated with education and initiation rituals. The masks embody
ancestral forces and serve as intermediaries with the spirit world.
Masks of the eastern Pende are typically painted red, black and white
and decorated with rows of small, incised painted triangles. They are
flat and characterized by exaggerated width and large projecting ears.
Late 19th / early 20th century.
Origin : Purchased from Paul Rutten, Amsterdam
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