Pumbu Mask 23
32.5" high x 16" wide x 15" deep (with raffia)
Despite its appearance, this Eastern Pende Pumbu mask shows no evidence of age or use and was probably made to be sold. There is a long, repaired crack on one side from the forehead to the mouth (see details). The raffia is in very good condition. For display and photographing, this mask was placed on top of a standard lamp stand.
Of the three masks belonging to the chiefly regalia of the Eastern Pende people, Pumbu is deemed the most dangerous and is reserved for only the most powerful chiefs. The Pumbu, unlike the majority of other masks, is only danced on special occasions such as when the chief is seriously ill, in times of illness or famine, when other issues are causing disruption in the community or when the chief feels threatened. Through the dancing of the Pumbu the chief asserts his authority.
The interlacing diamond patterns of the mask are symbols of chiefship and royalty. The large wide opened eyes of the mask convey anger. The bared teeth of the mask symbolize the fierce power of the chief and the ears sticking out from the sides of the mask mean that the chief hears everything that goes on and knows all. The overall aesthetics of the mask are meant to evoke fear, this idea is even more evident in the performance of this mask. The performer must be restrained by ropes, and onlookers are kept at a safe distance by young men wielding whips. At the end of the dance, the mask breaks loose and kills a stray animal (chicken or goat) to display its deadly power." - From http://cti.itc.virginia.edu/~bcr/studentwork/jones/royalty.html
RETURN TO PUMBU MASKS PAGE
GO TO EASTERN PENDE MASKS PAGE
GO TO WESTERN PENDE MASKS PAGE