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1629Re: [African_Arts] Re: I hope this will be fun...

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  • Paul De Lucco
    Oct 31, 2006
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      Excuse this late response.  My experience in collecting art from eastern DRC is that slanted eyes are a reference to cats, usually the leopard, a powerful figure in myth in the Congo - it was not by accident that Mobutu was nicknamed "The Leopard."  
      The mask you reproduce below is most likely from a forest people, judging from the heart-shaped face.  It does not seem to be Lega.  The clan scarifications on the forehead are puzzling as, in my experience, they are not a feature of eastern Congo masks and your mask, otherwise, does resemble masks from eastern DRC groups.  The mask is not a representation of a cat but the slanted eyes could be a feline reference.
      I recently collected a damaged mask, which seems an obvious portrayal of a leopard, from the eastern DRC, origin unknown but which I have tentatively identified as Yela:
      Actually, as I think about it, the open mouth and heavy features might be more suggestive of a lion than a leopard.  It might well be from an unknown group.  The northeast Congo cultures have never been exhaustively studied.
      - Paul
      ----- Original Message -----
      Sent: Thursday, October 12, 2006 7:28 PM
      Subject: Re: [African_Arts] Re: I hope this will be fun...

      Interestingly ... This mask just crossed my path the day 'slanted eyes' started showing up here ...... am posting a pic while on this slanted subject ... Unfortunately I don't remember it's attribution as I wasn't interested in the mask .... but now I'm curious .... can someone identify? 
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