This Sala Mpasu or Salampasu mask is known as a kasangu mask, which is loosely translated as “warrior mask.” The mask is made of wood and covered in copper, which is an important symbol of wealth and method of intimidating enemies.
The Sala Mpasu people live within the Democratic Republic of the Congo and were known as a tribe who long resisted colonization. Their Warrior Society had a specific position among the Sala Mpasu people: encourage peace among villages, train young members to be warriors, and monitor events for unnecessary violence. There is a large emphasis within the Sala Mpasu tradition on the ability to purchase material goods, and an initiate was required to purchase the Kasangu Mask on his own in order to demonstrate his economic status. The more masks a warrior owned, the greater his power became, which is equivalent to increased knowledge and control over destiny.
This article was written on May 17, 2013 by Kasia Balutowski.
Learn More: Salampasu Mask (2011.05.0934)
- Elisabeth L. Cameron, “Dancing a New Face: Contemporary Sala Mpasu Masquerades," African Arts 37.2 (2004): 76.
- ––––, "Sala Mpasu Masks," African Arts 22.1 (1988): 36.
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