Lwalwa mask

Africa | Democratic Republic of the Congo

Lwalwa mask

Democratic Republic of the Congo

Mfondo mask

Carved wood and pigments
Height: 31 cm – 12 ¼ in.

Provenance
Ex Sotheby’s London, 28 Nov. 1983, lot 45
Thence in a private collection, Palm Springs, California

Lwalwa mask 31 cm / Galerie Flak Price on request
This female Mfondo Lwalwa mask is remarkable in terms of its power and its highly Cubist construction. Classic Lwalwa art classic emphasizes the geometrization of shapes, a bold tension in its lines combined with the seductive appeal of curves.
Meant for use in initiation rites for young men in Ngongo society, these masks – where the bridge of the nose is reminiscent of the beak of some birds – were also used in hunting rituals to appease the spirits.
From the time that they were first "discovered" in the Western World in the 1930s, Lwalwa masks were admired and sought after by collectors and artists.

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