Their masks—either carved of wood (some plated with metal) or made of wood or woven fiber—were used during Mugongo Society ceremonies, which were primarily for circumcisions and initiations. As men rose through the ranks of the Mugongo, they gained esoteric knowledge of each mask type, and owning many masks indicated the possession of wealth and knowledge. The ram mask is one of their least common masks, and little is known about their use and function, beyond that they are part of the chain of initiation masks of the Mugongo society. This antique example is delightful, with inward curved horns which arch over the top of the head, beautiful dark and rich patina with a tiny linear kaolin pigment stained mouth, a strong contrast to the incredible dark depth of the patina covering the rest of the surface. The well-defined holes in the mask at one time held raffia or hemp thread which covered the head of a wearer. The dynamic design of the mask with its angles, arched horns and shadows, and our lighting issues (again we are still trying to find the right combination for lighting dark masks of this type) make viewing it in photos a real challenge. Feel free to inquire further, but we can assure you that this mask is outstanding. The mask provenance is impressive as well--it was illustrated/published in "Vaca Bruto, du quotidien au sacré" and Exhibited at Musée de Nîmes, France in an exhibition several years ago. A highly recommended piece.
Exhibited at Musée de Nîmes, France Published: "Vaca Bruto, du quotidien au sacré"; exhibition of same/ Musée de Nîmes The Salampasu are one of the least-understood central African groups, as they have remained fiercely independent for centuries
Ex. Private Collection Pollens (France)