TRIBAL AFRICAN ART

WAGOMA (GOMA) (also see related Buyu and Bemba)

The Wagoma occupy a small area at the northwestern end of Lake Tanganyika (Democratic Republic of the Congo). There are masks and shield-like carvings which are remarkable for their abstract design, with great emphasis on the eyes, conic protrusion for the mouth. There are also four-legged statues with a very large head, the facial expression in the same style as in the masks -- two large concave surfaces with two round bulging eyes -- and no body between legs and head. The same general structure is manifest in a headpiece, the legs replaced with a hollowed-out hemispherical cap below the two-faced head, often topped by feathers. Instead of recognizable features, the concave surface of the face is carved with an abstract cross design. Most objects of Wagoma art strongly resemble neighboring Buyu and Bemba art.

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