A fine Kasangu Circumcision Mask is simple and very powerful.
The Kasangu (Warriors) are the second ranking group of the three in the membership of the Mungongo Society - an all male organization within the Salampasu people.
Members of the society earned the right to purchase masks in their "station" by accomplishment of various tasks. Ownership of many masks attributed to the member's importance and wealth - as with the acquisition of a mask, one also acquired the knowledge and spirit of that mask. The society was (and I believe still is) run on an hierarchy system based on importance to the tribe. The most important being the Mukinka (Chief) who's masks often sport an elaborate headdress and on rare occasion are beautifully covered in copper strips; the Kasanga (Warriors) - masks are smaller and made only of wood, and finally, the Hunters - who's masks are made of fiber. Each is distinctly different, while they all share recognizable similarities.
Our example of the Kasangu Mask exhibits a bulbous forehead overshadowing rectangular eyes. Scarification on the cheeks are representational of tears. The nose is elongated and globular, and the open rectangular mouth is fierce, bearing needle sharpened teeth. A fiber beard.
Blackened wood, polychromed encrusted patina, traces of red clay ochre, fiber.
CONDITION: No restoration. Well carved. Fine encrusted patina. Exhibits good wear. 11.5" including beard. Tribally used when acquired by way of Trade about 1950. Second quarter 20th century. Kasai, Zaire.
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