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“Ngaady a Mwaash” Mwash ceremonial mask

“Ngaady a Mwaash” Mwash ceremonial mask

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The Ngaady a Mwaash ceremony is a significant cultural event among the Kuba people of Central Africa, particularly in the Kasai region of the Democratic Republic of Congo. The ceremony is a celebration of the founding queen of the Kuba Kingdom, who is believed to have descended from the heavens. The ceremony typically takes place over several days and involves the use of elaborate masks, which are considered sacred objects and are imbued with spiritual significance.

During the ceremony, men and women from the Kuba community wear masks, representing different spirits, ancestors, and animals. The masks are made from a variety of materials, including wood, raffia, and animal skins, and are adorned with intricate designs and embellishments. Each mask has its own unique meaning and symbolism, and is used to communicate with the spirit world.

The highlight of the ceremony is the appearance of the Ngaady a Mwaash mask, which is considered the most important and sacred mask of all. The mask is worn by a designated member of the community who is believed to have a special connection with the spirit world. When the Ngaady a Mwaash mask is worn, it is believed that the spirit of the founding queen is present and can communicate with the community

The Ngaady a Mwaash ceremony is a testament to the rich cultural heritage of the Kuba people, and showcases their artistic and spiritual traditions. It remains an important event in Kuba society, and continues to be celebrated and passed down through generations.

The Ngaady a Mwaash has two mythical brothers who perform a mock fight to win her affection: the Mwash aMbooy represents the Kuba king, and the Bwoom mask the half-brother/foreigner. The museum is fortunate to have masks of all three in the African Collection. The three masks offer a poignant manifestation of the significance of women and the balance of gender and status in Kuba political systems and Kuba life.

 

Mask comes with wire display stand 

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