Global Art & Artifacts

Rare Salampasu / Basalampasu Warrior Mask.  Mukinka. Kasai River.  Congo DNC / Angola

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There are about 60,000 Salampasu people who live east of the Kasai River (bordering the DRC and Angola).  History reveals that they are viewed with terror by adjacent tribes (e.g. Chokwe and Lunda).  The Salampasu are governed by territorial leaders who, in turn, supervise village chiefs.  Their reputation is one of fearless warriors.  And, they still lead a tough and primitive life.


The variety of their masks are surprisingly similar…. with most having aggressive features, most likely because of their warrior society.  They are called Mukinka. Most have bulging foreheads, fierce eyes, facial carvings, pegged ears, rectangle open mouth with filed teeth, a fiber chin pendant  and a stunning woven/twisted cane knobs coiffure.


Mukinkas are used during circumcision rites (boys to “warriors”) and for acts of appeasements (likely when one tribe or faction needed to reconcile with another).


When a warrior (Ibuku) is recognized as successful in battle, outstanding or important, the Mukinka is layered in copper with brass nails.  The copper strips are reserved for high-ranking members of the warrior secret society.


This mask – most likely from the 1970s or 1980s – has copper scarification strips on the forehead and face.  Stunning.    Whether or not the owner was a highly skilled warrior is not known.  But the age indicates that the owner was high ranking in the tribe.


A rare find and for the Serious Collector of masks.  Stand not included.



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