Bapende Gikhoko Mask

 


GIKHOKO
INITIATION BADGE
20th Century

Bapende Peoples, Democratic Republic of the Congo
Bone,
4 x 2 in.
Anonymous Gift
1970.004.002

The masks of the Bapende peoples can be classified into two styles, the western, or Kwilu and the eastern, or Kasai style. This mask, or more properly badge, reflects the Kwilu style. It is a smaller version of the crested mbuya initiation mask and would have been worn as a pendant, or gikhoko, by an initiate into a secret society as a badge of honor. It also served as protection against illness and hardship. The three-pointed crown of this mask indicates that it refers to the pumbu, or chief, type of mbuya mask.




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