Salampasu Female Guardian Figure / Nkisi, DRC / Angola #106

$ 1,985.00

  • Salampasu Guardian Figure, DRC / Angola #106
  • Measurements: 19.5" high x 5" wide.
  • The Salampasu live in rural villages on the frontier between the DRC and Angola. Their name means “hunter of locusts,” and they are regarded by their neighbors as fierce warriors. While the Salampasu are involved in hunting and farming, they are best known for their elaborate masks, which hold great significance in their sacred rituals as warriors. These masks are used to initiate boys into the society of warriors and are earned through performing specific deeds. The masks also act as guardians for the children and are believed to have spirits dwelling within them. There are no known believers or churches among the Salampasu.
  • Women are involved in some farming, but the Salampasu depend mostly on the hunting done by the men. The only art they produce are masks, which are important in their rites and sacred concepts.

    The TRIBAL AFRICAN ART website provides more on the Salampasu culture, in explaining the role of masks in the traditional society:
    Boys were initiated into the warriors’ society through a circumcision camp, and then rose through its ranks by gaining access to a hierarchy of masks. Earning the right to wear a mask involved performing specific deeds and large payments of livestock, drink and other material goods. ... Salampasu masquerades were held in wooden enclosures decorated with anthropomorphic figures carved in relief.