Masks like this from the Mbaka (also Ngbaka) people of Central African Republic were initiation masks. It was also made to offer protection to the tribe. Like most ancient African societies, the Mbaka people take the young members of their tribe through an initiation process. For the Mbaka, this process is called ganza.
This initiation mask is also called dagara and it features in choreographic dances employing songs to intimate the initiates with the stories and way of life of the tribe. As typical for Mbaka masks, this mask has an oval, concave face with a triangular nose and scarification marks. The marks on the nose are found on the noses of Mbaka men while the two V marks under the eyes are tribal marks.
This Mbaka mask is intended to offer protection for the owner and bring good fortunes.
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