LWALWA MASKS, DRC

 LWALWA
Mask 2
13" high
$250

 LWALWA
Mask 3
12" high
$300

 LWALWA
Mask 6
17" high
$250

 

 LWALWA
Mask 8
12" high
$200

 LWALWA
Mask 10
14" high
$150

 LWALWA
Mask 11
11.5" high
$150

 

The Lwa Lwa masks below have been sold and are left here for reference and educational purposes.

 

LWALWA
Mask 1
SOLD

 LWALWA
Mask 4
SOLD

LWALWA
Mask 5
SOLD

 

 LWALWA
Mask 7
SOLD

LWALWA
Mask 9
SOLD

Photographs © Tim Hamill

LWALWA, MASKS, DRC

This group of masks, despite their traditional appearance, are relatively new and probably made to be sold.

Masks are the primary art form of the Lwalwa people who live near the Kasai River in the Dem. Rep. of the Congo. Among the Lwalwa masks serve to witness initiations and circumcisions of the youths and some are danced during hunting rituals.

Lwalwa masks display a balanced composition, an enlarged angular nose, a protruding mouth and narrow slotted eyes. These sharply delineated features give Lwalwa art an almost geometric appearance. The shapes of the nose are modeled after different birds. The choreography of masked dances was highly complex and had to appease the spirits of the ancestors and compel them to intervene. Masks still play a role today in secular festivities but now the mask dances are performed for payment, and their magic has largely given way to entertainment.

Lwalwa statuary is limited to rather crude figures whose features are similar to the masks.

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