Suku helmet mask from Congo

The 80,000 Suku (Basuku) people have lived in the southwestern part of the Democratic Republic of the Congo since the 16th century. They have an initiation, the n-khanda. A special hut is built in the forest to give shelter to the postulants during their retreat; the event ends in circumcision, an occasion for great masked festivities including dances and song. The masks fulfill several functions: some serve as protection against evil forces, others ensure the fertility of the young initiate. Their role consists in frightening the public, healing the sick, and casting spells. The charm masks of the initiation specialist do not “dance.” Their appearance must engender terror, especially the kakuungu, with its swollen cheeks and massive features. Bob, 1782

One Comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

I accept the Privacy Policy