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Object Name: Ibuku Association mask (idangani male mask)
Culture: Sala Mpasu peoples
Place of Origin: Democratic Republic of the Congo
Date/Era: 20th century
Medium/Materials: Raffia, plant fiber, basketry, feathers, sticks
Dimensions: H: 55 cm
Credit Line: Fowler Museum at UCLA. Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Ralph Altman.
Accession Number: X63.592
The dramatic masks of the Sala Mpasu peoples of the Democratic Republic of the Congo often combine various looping and knotting techniques with those more explicitly identified as basketry. The two masks here served a men’s association called Idangani, whose members joined to assure success in new ventures. Both masks are identified as male by their raffia beards and conical basketwork headdresses. Each would have been paired with a female mask, which would have featured multiple bulbous stylings replicating a common hairstyle in lieu of the conical cap.
Source: Gallery text, Fowler in Focus: African Basketry Arts, Thinking outside the Basket, 2009.
See also: Marla C. Berns, World Arts, Local Lives: The Collections of the Fowler Museum at UCLA. Fowler Museum, Los Angeles, 2014.