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Title:Towards an Understanding of Style Complexes as a Means of Determining the Attribution of Masks of Eastern and Northeast Central Zaire
Author:Rodolitz, K. ScottISNI
Periodical:St. Petersburg Journal of African Studies
Geographic term:Congo (Democratic Republic of)
Peoples of Africa (Ethnic Groups)
Architecture and the Arts
Abstract:This paper seeks to establish a new method of stylistic attribution of the plastic arts of the peoples of the Republic of Zaire, based in part on the older methods and in part on the conception of 'ethnic mosaic areas'. These are limited and discrete areas where numerous ethnicities share common traits and yet maintain a distinct identity. Within these cultural mosaic areas, the paper defines specific 'style complexes', i.e. a set of specific aesthetic qualities that belong to either a single ethnicity or a group of ethnicities and that can be statistically quantified and distinguished from other ethnicities' sets of aesthetic criteria. The paper also defines the larger regions of stylistic output, referring to these as 'meta-complexes'. It deals in particular with the sculptural masking traditions of the peoples of eastern and northeast central Zaire. In the case of eastern Zaire, it limits itself to the central part of the Maniema meta-complex and deals with the masks that have traditionally been ascribed to the Lega, the Kumu or Komo, and the Bembe. In the case of northeast central Zaire, it limits itself to the style complex of the ethnicities living adjacent to the western portion of Maniema proper and encompassing such peoples as the Mbole, the Jonga, the Yela, and related groups. Ann., bibliogr., notes, ref.