Africa

Another clay piece, but not a mask

The Mangbetu people are known for their highly developed art. They were located in the Belgian Congo (today the northeast region of the DRC) and stood out to European explorers because of their elongated heads and beautiful scarification. Traditionally their babies’ heads were wrapped tightly with cloth in order to give them this elongated head appearance. This practice, called Lipombo, began dying out in the 1950s with the arrival of more Europeans and westernization. Scarification is the practice of incising the skin with a sharp instrument. It is no longer practiced today either.
Here is an old clay sculpture from the Metropolitan Museum of a Mangbetu woman. Even though it is not a mask, I think all of us would love to have it in our own collection.

https://www.metmuseum.org/

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