Lele masks are closely related to the style Kuba masks. The Lele make masks that have much in common, both visually and functionally, with those of their neighbors in the central Kuba kingdom, but are much rarer.
The Lele sculptor of this mask employed an imaginative and skillful use of pigment to underline volume contrasts such as the convex, almond-shaped eyes—accentuated by multiple eyebrows arranged one atop another—and the pronounced relief of the nose, ears, and scarification marks. Such masks appear principally at the funerals of chiefs and elders but are also used in annual performances that celebrate and teach the history of Lele origins and migrations.
The Estate of Thomas McNemar Lexington, VA USA