Arts of Africa first Black Arts Spring 1981 No. 77
When we examine the significance of an African mask, we do not seek to know what the "message" it provides, by virtue of some essential notion of disguise and by his presence, but rather what kind of continuum it belongs. The masks are at the confluence of pictorial traditions, oral and functional none appears (under secular unable to recognize the subjects and even less discernible. The understanding of pictorial code used requires not only a review but a review of developed components as needed through the original context. Let us offer an example of the image with respect to the buffalo in the region of Zaire Kwango-Kwilu South West (1).
Synceros caffer, the largest of African cattle is a massive animal, black, cropped hair, measuring 1.50 m at the shoulder and weighing nearly a ton (900 kg.) (Fig. 1). Its heavy horns have a spacing of one meter, are curved downward and inward and form large lumps to their bases. This animal, originally occupied the central, eastern and southern Africa, frequenting the open plains, open woods and river beds and marshes bordered by reeds. Commonly preview herds of a dozen to a hundred heads, he used to graze and graze the early morning and again at dusk, seeking shade during the hottest hours but sometimes moving at night . Females do not carry a calf for about eleven months.
Considered peaceful, was injured when he can become, for hunters, the most dangerous animal of any big game on the continent (Fig. 2). He is known for his fighter around and hunt down and uses his powerful and deadly horns. And occasional attacks on humans unprovoked, by zoologists are attributed to the vengeance of an animal that was once wounded. The white egret, Bubulcus ibis, is often found in symbiotic association with the buffalo, feeding on its parasites.
This animal is more than just a traditional meaning for the Yaka of Southwestern Zaire, and their immediate neighbors, who gave him the name Pakasa. Just as the leopard and elephant, buffalo Pakasa is associated with highest honors, to kya ilaambu pfumu. This animal has a direct relationship with the sovereign area. When killed, its skin, horns and meat should be immediately brought to the customary chief, regardless of the hunter. In addition, by completing this duty, he gains great honor and esteem, more general recognition of his bravery.
Implications are also associated with supernatural Pakasa buffalo, as the proverb translates Yaka: Pakasa yitangu / a mvuuka, which refers to the ability of the buffalo disappear when he is startled or injured. The animal hides and surprises then the hunter who, thinking to pursue it, realize it is charging from behind. In this way, it is associated with the wizard who throws himself on a prey that does not wait (2).
Among the Yaka and their neighbors of witchcraft, in its broadest sense, is a special knowledge or special, such as power, and a special kind of intelligence that a person can be invested, this is by showing social success or that of economic activities. In its extreme form, this extraordinary knowledge is paid for in human victims and is considered anti-social. In the popular imagination, wizards (Balok) reduce their victims to slavery, forcing their minds to work hard in the fields or forests or make their commissions. Such powers may give their owner to be in several places at once, to travel over long distances in a short time or a witch metamorphosed into a human animal, for example, a warthog, leopard, crocodile or a buffalo, using it to hunt down and kill his enemies.
Yaka chiefs are usually supposed to control aggression and engaged in witchcraft sorcery necessarily this, discarding subjects parents or threatening to defeat the powers of sorcerers possible rivals. Reign as the head of the invisible world by participating in occasional meetings of witches, and then, by contracting blood debts that can not be paid in human lives. During the induction, during rituals, to regional heads of Yaka and their neighbors, a power of double vision is needed, the ability to pierce through the appearances of everyday life, the machinations of witches (3). A specially spiral bracelet containing a nerve or a human tendon, is the supreme symbol of the load. Victims are immolated, goats, for example, or in the past, slaves. Although the chief or sorcerer could kill than those on which they had rights in the legal sense. A victim should be kept by the other elders who also held power or extraordinary vision, wanting to guarantee against any potential suitor. In sum, the head of his special powers invested and continues to protect both his subjects and may, in the extreme, sheltering behind a protection in cases of disobedience, non-compliance or impertinence. In a more positive sense, these same leaders as former are considered to keep and transmit life and collective resources of virtue generative act as mediators between the vital forces, deriving from the founding ancestors, and the fertility of their subjects and the environment.
The reference to the buffalo can be seen in the regalia of chiefs, not only in the form of flapper tail black buffalo (n-sesa) (4) used in court (Fig. 3) and Kabondo wide leather belt worn by the nomination of a charge for its installation, but also in hair derived Lunda (Fig. 4), the horns in a circle and the upper plume of white feathers, the Tsala zi pheembele kanaangi white heron (pheembele), the bird associated with the buffalo Pakasa. Thus, the sovereign head, with the support of the community, reigns over his subjects, like the buffalo herd on the reigns, and removes the daily problems, such as buffalo hunting the many unwelcome flies.
The mask, in Yaka and their neighbors, makes a curious relationship between leaders and their special powers. In the iconography on the buffalo, the masks look more like an extension of bodily powers wizards. The first example of a horned mask (Fig. 5), collected by Verhaevert before 1910 in a village named Yaka Sisacidi, is described: "Subject to the dances of war and carried by a chief who led the fight (MRAC 19292 / 2). " Built splint reed into a huge sphere, its surface is covered with a combination of imported fabric and raffia. Horizontally across the forehead, a ridge of fibers is decorated with a series of small fragments of gourds painted with red and white. Ears oval, bleached, form a relief. The eyes are simply drilled holes in the fabric but embellished with a sort of arch made of a tuft of hair warthog. Nose, long, built a fiber bead is accented with red and white lines, the nostrils and mouth open, are highlighted hair buffalo though relatively hidden in the collar of raffia fibers. The two conical horns wrapped in multicolored fabric ends with two slices of wood. Moreover, between the horns and the head is a raffia tassel similar in effect to that of the Tsala hairstyle.
A second mask, a gigantic (Fig. 6), collected by Father Butany Kimbao in the region, on the river Inzia is referenced: "Mbau, buffalo (MRAC 34146)." It was presented to the museum of Tervuren in 1932, and measures a total of 125 cm and 62 cm wide. Sides made of reeds and covered with raffia, as in the previous example, the structure of the nose, elongated and vertical, is separately carved in wood, like the mouth that has teeth blunt and bleached. So the eyes are highlighted by tufts of hair. An ornamental kind of double visor with raised triangles, overcomes the forehead and face is painted red and white two white ovals overloaded from the eyes, while two lines stretching horizontally eye toward the edge raffia. Ears, oval and bleached appear at the base of almost conical horns, wrapped in the same piece of raffia which brings the top of the head. Although no contextual information is provided by Butany, in his study published in 1930, mentions Plancquaert extensive use of masks or Mbaw Pakasa in the conclusion of the initiation rites of n-khanda, or newly circumcised boys have appeared before the masked figure who identifies the forbidden foods to insiders (5). In addition, Plancquaert cites the use of a smaller variety of buffalo hides among the masks that occur in pairs, carried by the new initiates during their exhibition tour (6). Like other masks, seen during these exhibitions, the face is carved in wood and topped with a coned disk surrounding reinforced. It has horns or not, this variety appears occasionally in the dances, even today (Fig. 7). In each specimen, a young buffalo, rather than an adult, is represented.
Hans Himmelheber collected another mask in 1937, the huge variety of Mbaw, which is currently in the collection of Jacques Hautelet (Fig. 8). Made of straw, it looks like a huge Easter egg in its oval shape. Its surface is covered with raffia blackened white lines edged with red surrounding wnes red dots and white. The nose of wood, stretched and fixed, is covered with red and white triangles, so that the eyes are represented by tubes of rolled bark. Two red rectangles, like legs, ears suggest. Genuine horn antelope palanga are directly subject to the mask, in lieu of those representing the horns of the buffalo in all other matters. Himmelheber published a photo of the field mask out of his shelter with a wooden mask and a mask kakuungu mwelo feathered (Fig. 9). In his article in Bursa, Himmelheber Mbaw stresses that the mask is not the work of a professional sculptor, but rather that of an expert on rites of this charm and it can be acquired by anyone wishing to learn an expert treatment and taboos attached to it. Like the chubby kakuungu, major field of magic Mbaw extends to all forms of human diseases, including impotence and infertility, for which the patient is confronted with the mask for several days in a small box. As for diseases, it is soothsayer said that if the village is the Mbaw which can be treated. Similarly, can say of Mbaw can be used to chase away the rain or a tornado. Himmelheber also discusses his role in the initiation of the n-khanda, although it is assumed that this role could be adapted recently. The Mbaw harvested by Hirnmelheber was used at the beginning of an n-khanda or he reviewed boys allowed: tundansi (7). During our research in 1976, both among the Yaka and Suku among the most information about Hirnmelheber were confirmed. In the village of Yaka Itunza and Pasanganga in the sector Popokabaka, the former indicated that the sculptors made (kalaweeni) did not Mbaw masks. Although it is a mask of n-khanda, it has its own dance, when it comes out for the opening of camp circumcision. In the village of Suku-Tsaamba Milombi, I learned that Mbaw is less powerful than kakuungu and may serve as an assistant. Kakuungu dance first and is always followed by Mbaw. The dancer's costume includes pants and a shirt made of a mesh of raffia, animal skins and some added ndoku pods, which produce a sound: "block-block-block!" frightening villagers who take their legs around their necks as we approach the masked figure (8).
Toward the center of Kyambvu Kinza on the Inzia, Mbaw kakuungu opens the way for that is the most powerful. When the mask appears, he shouts: "ngeyan ngeyan woolo woolo!" On the eastern bank of the river Inzia the village of Kimbenga Suku (Ngombe leadership), we reported was a famous case, dating back to 1924 between two men determined to use their respective mask. Kakuungu The owner wanted to take support n-khanda, which was disputed by the owner of Mbaw. But as the first resident to Kimbenga, he took the decision and "man Mbaw" disgruntled returned to his village. Thereupon it rained continuously for several days, without hope of respite and n-khanda found himself continually postponed. Recognizing this, the villagers began to think Mbaw owner, decided to ask him to chase the rain. When the old man finally went to the search, they offered him a goat, money and begged to do something to improve the situation. Mbaw rain stopped immediately, and shortly afterwards supplanted kakuungu in this region. If, however, masks the two met, they Bikal exchanged a charm for fear kakuungu was not humiliated by Mbaw and that its owner was not struck with a sudden death.
Mbaw occurs when a wizard intoned verses imploring him to condemn, punish, curse and kill the man who steals from others or goats would be guilty of other antisocial acts. While the verses shatter the mask was running here and there, seeking a woman who had recently given birth to a child, as described in a story on kakuungu (9); 11Ibawa is deemed to have a good influence over the deliveries. In reviewing candidates for the n-khanda, it had occasionally boys, with their names n-khanda. Other powers are granted, including the good effects it can have on the hunts organized by the lineage and the faculty that would address or resolve cases of bad luck diagnosed as being caused by the charm Bikal.
Preparing a mask Mbaw required the sacrifice of a goat in order to protect present and future members of the lineage. The meat of the animal was then distributed among the members involved. A chicken or a rooster was also killed on this occasion and formally introduced to a man with the title-Mbala Mbala, an assistant of the owner of the mask. In addition, a general interdict was to not eat meat of any animal as Mbaw forest was in the region.
Our informants southern Yaka originating sector Kingulu on the high Wamba, describes the use of masks Mbaw during the enthronement of a new leader, the mask dance being accomplished only in the presence of adult males and honor of the chief. Some details that told us the Father Antoine Verwilghen Yaka masks on South of the town of Kasa, it appears that the fibers of Mbaw designated kambwamba, their function is to spread terror and are only worn by men adults. When it occurs in honor of a new leader, is said to climb on the roofs of houses and dance there. However, it does not appear in the context of the initiation-khanda. Several of these specimens, the region Kingulu, are in the collection of the Institut des Musées Nationaux, Kinshasa (IMNZ: 71.323.27, 72.136.1, 72.136.3) and another was acquired by the Museum Barbier -Mueller of Geneva in 1977 (Fig. 10). It measures 146 cm. wide, is almost spherical in shape and is distinguished by the construction of conical eyes that resemble a double hand bell. The face has large areas of red, white and black lines demarcated red and white. The horns are well decorated with red and white rings of large black spots. Finally, the nose stretches right up to the front line like the previous specimens.
An example of the enigmatic southern Yaka (Fig. 11), kept at the Institute of National Museums of Kinshasa (70.12.82), is a miniature version attached to the rear of the spherical shape. Unless a mere aberration, a wider range of meanings could establish a rapport with motherhood.
According to information of A.. Verwilghen, on the southernmost Kahungula Yaka masks called Pakasa Mbaw or are used to frighten or terrorize the public. Money is even given to calm the enraged dancer. As the animal he represents, the mask shows the morning or at night but never the day (10). Unlike other masks discussed later, the South version Suku (Figs. 12 & 13) is entirely carved in wood, which form the Buffalo realistically, allowing the dancer to see through the mouth when the mask is placed horizontally on the head. On each of the eight known specimens (11), great care was given to the sculpting of the teeth, tongue and any portion of the mouth. The only intentional trend, from an otherwise realistic picture of the buffalo is on the back of the head or in the anterior region of the ears, or horizontal rows of triangles were painted on a black surface or dark. Masks of this type are also found in the localities and Panzi Kapita-Tsuka, near Falls Kwango. Several identical masks were collected from Holo
Among the Yaka and Suku southern extreme of the South, there remains a variety of wooden masks, helmet-shaped, with buffalo horns lateral or vertical, although it has absolutely a human face rather than the head an animal (Fig. 14). According Verwilgen, these masks are also called mbawu or Mbaw and have the same role as the precise animal forms which we have spoken. Among the Yaka southern Kasa, the humanized version includes wooden masks called mambula, zanhulu Kokolo and terrorizing everyone, forcing the girls and married women to return to their homes as he can face anyone (12) . However, a specimen collected by Father Fuller in 1970 (72.395.99 IMNZ) (Fig. 14), was used to treat a sick child, the mask was placed over the child's head. Similar masks are known on the other side of the Kwango, Angola, among the surrounding population and Nkanu Sosso (Figs. 15 & 16) but also to the east in Mbala and Kwesi (Figs. 17 & 18), although nothing is known about their function and context specific. Each has varying proportions in the composition between human and animal representations.
The Pende center PAGASA use a masked dancer during their holidays hidden Mbuya, according Muya Gangambi, Ndambi Munamugega Delhaise and (13). Like some other Pende masks a special power, ritual preparations are necessary, including sexual abstinence creators and bearers of the costume of buffalo, several dietary laws are observed and a special powder is sprinkled here or masked figure is going to pass . Accompanied by a guardian, or more, makeup and red with white dots on the face and wearing parrot feathers in his headdress, the PAGASA is hidden at first welcomed by the absolute silence until the drum plays a Special rate. Ndambi reports that guards dressed as hunters and sing the dead to their families who were killed by a buffalo. According to him, "PAGASA dance accompanied by a death in the village, it does not run unnecessarily." (14) Similarly, according to WC Wauters, the Pende of Mbuya PAGASA is also the guardian spirit, the spy guard camp circumcision (15).
A more theatrical context is described by Delhaise, or the character Pende PAGASA door behind him a sack of mud he leaves sometimes escape to mimic the droppings of the animal. The assistants then threaten their bows and their guns and shoot blanks. The mask then falls as if struck with death and the scene ends in his parody of counting among the cheers of women (16). A specimen PAGASA Pende mask (fig. 19), collected by F. Wenner is in the collection of Tervuren (MRAC 32532) and reflects an expressive naturalism similar to those of Suku and Yaka south.
The impact of the image of the buffalo hidden in ceremonies across the region Kwango-Kwilu Zaire is obvious. Although the picture given is not an exact replica, but often a simplification and distortion of the most expressive qualities of the animal: its massive presence, his menacing and penetrating. The animal nature is interpreted, represented for social purposes. The previous habits of thought, feeling and action are a missed free speculation and reflective, as suggested by Victor Turner (17). Capable of swerving, which involves spinning and slaughter wild, unpredictable aspects, vengeful and terrifying are not the sole prerogative of the animal Pakasa subjected to stalking, but they are also evident in the conduct to be human. Through this animal redesigned parallel and similar aspects of this behavior are dramatized. Buffalo Pakasa can be attached to the head irascible, even the old, who condemn or curse those under their authority. In return, the chief, as the buffalo, is supremely dreaded because he presides over the court wearing his horns, waving and flailing his fly swatter tail buffalo. The power of the animal and his sexual virility associated with avenging his actions were engrossed, focused and materialized into a more terrifying than the animal itself and held in reserve against any evidence of malice or weakness vis- à-vis the community. authorit y through the ritual specialist who strives to overcome the dangers and uncertainties during periods of social change during the wars in the interregnum, or on entry of young adults in the state responsible.
Arthur P. BOURGEOIS