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Ndunga Woyo mask

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13282000The ndunga Woyo masks are named after the secret society they belong to. They have slit eyes, marked mouths and are usually painted in red, black, and white.The ndunga Woyo masks are named after the secret society they belong to. They have slit eyes,...Zoom http://www.museum-lehavre.fr/sites/default/files/styles/exposition/public/multimedia/2008.4.384_b.jpg?itok=54z0aMYKLe Havre Museum of Natural History – Photo credit : C. Livonnen
1000747Each mask was unique and was named after the first word of a proverb the wearer of the mask had to recite (the rat, the huge, the gatekeeper, the young palm tree, the big eyes...)Each mask was unique and was named after the first word of a proverb the wearer of the mask had to...Zoom http://www.museum-lehavre.fr/sites/default/files/styles/exposition_portrait/public/multimedia/0001a_0.jpg?itok=X6XDXYKcLe Havre Museum of Natural History – Photo credit : C. Livonnen
1000747The ndunga was responsible for maintaining social order and played an important part in the rituals associated to the cult of the spirits of nature, invoking them to favour good crops. The ndunga was guided by a person speaking in whistles. He also attended chief investitures and notables' funerals to bless the crowd. The ndunga was responsible for maintaining social order and played an important part in the rituals...Zoom http://www.museum-lehavre.fr/sites/default/files/styles/exposition_portrait/public/multimedia/0001b_0.jpg?itok=Y6j_Ag4XLe Havre Museum of Natural History – Photo credit : C. Livonnen
13282000The wearer of the mask also had to wear a hefty costume made of banana leaves (or feathers) and carry sacred objects. The wearer of the mask also had to wear a hefty costume made of banana leaves (or feathers) and...Zoom http://www.museum-lehavre.fr/sites/default/files/styles/exposition/public/multimedia/2008.4.384_d.jpg?itok=w2cQ1E1KLe Havre Museum of Natural History – Photo credit : C. Livonnen

Ndunga Woyo mask

 

  • Origin : Democratic Republic of the Congo or Cabinda

  • Ethnic group : Woyo

  • Date : 19th century

  • Materials : wood, pigments

  • Dimensions : 19.5 cm x 24.5 cm

  • Inventory number : 2008.4.384

  • Acquisition mode : donated by M. Thierry, October 15th 1903 ; bought from Dahomey, 1902.

The ndunga Woyo masks are named after the secret society they belong to. They have slit eyes, marked mouths and are usually painted in red, black, and white.

 The ndunga was responsible for maintaining social order and played an important part in the rituals associated to the cult of the spirits of nature, invoking them to favour good crops. The ndunga was guided by a person speaking in whistles. He also attended chief investitures and notables' funerals to bless the crowd.

 Each mask was unique and was named after the first word of a proverb the wearer of the mask had to recite (the rat, the huge, the gatekeeper, the young palm tree, the big eyes...)

 The wearer of the mask also had to wear a hefty costume made of banana leaves (or feathers) and carry sacred objects. Without the costume or the proverb, this mask has lost its identity.

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