The Pende people of the Democratic Republic of Congo are grouped into small kingdoms, which consolidate several clans under the rule of a chief whose main role is that of mediator with the ancestors. Even though the society is matrilineal, the sculptor's profession is transmitted from father to son. Pende art styles vary widely, with a more abstract, geometric style in the east and a more naturalistic one in the central area and to the west. The animal masks are used in the initiation rituals during which boys live out in the bush and act out the behavior of certain animals including antelopes.
Despite its appearance, this Eastern Pende mask shows no evidence of age or use and was probably made to be sold.
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