Pende Mbuyu Mask
Mbuya masks play a major role in male initiation into manhood. They represent various good and bad characters to be emulated or shunned within the culture. The masks are danced by young men returning to the village after the completion of ritual circumcisions and initiation training in bush camps known as mukanda. The mukanda is an initiatory institution where religion, art, and social organization are passed down from one generation to the next. As part of their instruction, the boys are taught the history, traditions and the secrets associated with the wearing and making of masks. The initiates wear the masks as symbols of their transformation from boys to men. They departed for their training as children, but returned with the full rights and responsibilities of men. Mbuya masks depict a wide range of characters, including the sorcerer, the chief, the clown, and a number of types of women,such as the chief’s wife, the beauty, and the seductress. (DK)
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