Western Kwilu Pende Mbuya Mask. Democratic Republic of the Congo
Special Western Kwilu Pende Mbuya Yellow Mask. The Democratic Republic of the Congo
The Mbuya, or village masks, represent human types, such as the chief, the diviner, the epileptic with a twisted mouth, the madman or man in a trance, the widow, the lover, or the executioner. All told, about twenty characters and seven “masks of power” appear in ceremonies such as millet-planting celebration or circumcision and initiation ritual, and the ritual of the enthronement of a chief. Although they represent roles in the secular society rather than spirits they are used also to control supernatural forces. Worn by the celebrants at coming out parties of newly initiated young men who have just been circumcised, these masks represent revered mythological beings and ancestors such as chiefs and their wives, hunters, prophets, and sages. The interpretation of the human face is typical of the Western Pende with the continuous eyebrow line, bulging forehead, drooping upper eyelids. This mask is called Mbuya Lemba and represents the chief of the clan.