Photo above: A young woman and her sponsor (grandmother or mother) whose bodies are completely whitened. They are preparing to leave the house to join an initiation rite celebrating  women’s maturity.


Field photos made by DB in 1957 in a Salampasu village, Kapanga territoire, Kasai district, not far from the imaginary boundary with the Lunda. The mask, called Wamulandwa, is carved in blackened wood with netted upper body ornament and fiber skirt. After working among the Lunda and passing through the Salampasu area on our way to Kinshasa, a show of masks was organized for DB and Laure-Marie as a thank you for having picked up, along the road, a young man who was returning home from Kinshasa to take over the legitimate succession as chieftain.

Basically, the Salampasu have three types of masks: one wooden, one woven, one copper-plated wood (blackened or whitened). The numerous names for different masks that authors, such as Bogaerts and Pruitt, provide seem to be linked with the type of “hairdo,” hat, feather tufts, colors, costume, and other paraphernalia.

The houses, the men’s meeting house, some shrines are traditional constructions.