types of masks are associated with the Kuba royal kingdom namely the
Bwoom mask, Ngaady A Mwaash and the Mwaash aMbooy. Typical
characteristics of these masks are the geometrical patterns, colorful
beads and the cowry shells.
a Mwaash or pawn woman of Mwaash: (see image to your right) The
mask represents the daughter of the great God Woot. The first wife of
the first king from which, all Kuba royalty descended. The two vertical
lines below the eyes running down the cheeks represent tears of joy and
pain associated with being the queen mother. Material used; wood,
beads, cowrie shells and fabric.
- wooden helmet mask. Typical
of these masks are the bulging forehead, big nose and large ears
(commonly associated with pygmies). Other features include, metal work
on the forehead, cheeks and nose, beadwork along the eyes nose and
mouth. The cowrie shells along with the beads indicate wealth and royal
legend Bwoom was sent to Earth by his father (the great God - Woot), to
establish the Kuba kingdom. His sister Ngaady aMwaash, and his brother
Mwaash aMbooy with whom he eventually struggled for power accompanied
him. Bwoom also symbolically speaks for the common man.
Mwaash aMbooy -
moshambwooy mask represents - Woot, the first of the royal ruling
Bushoong founder of the Kuba kingdom. Each Kuba king and chief owns a
Moshambwooy mask and wears it during royal ceremonies and initiation
rites. The masks are decorated with colorful beads, cowrie shells, and
animal skins to indicate the high rank and royal status. When the ruling
king dies, the mask gets buried along with the king.
three masks described above are worn with costumes that cover the entire
body and comprises of fabric, cowry shells, beadwork, feathers and or
raffia. During masking ceremonies the mask wearer is possessed by a