Mbunda wise, old man mask

100 years old and heavily used, this badly damaged mask is still a joy to behold. Here is what Jean-Baptiste Bacquart has to say… The Mbunda live in West Zambia, on either side of the Angolan border. They are subdivided into groups (Subiya, Mbalango etc). The ‘Sachihongo masks’ of the Mbunda denote a powerful, mighty chieftain, a hunter and a medicine man, who had lived a long time ago. This mask of the ‘wise, old grandee’ is used in the initiation of boys where it embodies the figure of the all adjudicating respected authority.

Carved in lightweight, light-colored wood and colored dark brown. On the front side can be found traces of additional reddish coloring (perhaps sacrificial offerings with powdered redwood). But very typical for the style of the Mbalango subgroup of the Mbunda are nevertheless the two flat ‘hanging’ cheeks of this ‘Sachihongo mask’. An interesting object with a few minor old crack and losses (and the rim and the left eye), minimal slight tears. Boasting a convincing old shiny patina at the front and back as a result of protracted use. Very rare. Diameter: c. 25 cm. A+, 1776

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