Lele Mask, the Lele (or Leele), also known as Bashilele or Usilele, are a Bantu ethnic group closely related to the Kuba people in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. They traditionally live in the Kasai River region, but since the 1950s many have migrated to Kinshasa. There are currently about 30,000 Lele, of which 26,000 speak the Lele language.
Italiaander Galleries, till 1991
Collection Mrs. F.I. Kappers and Mr. D. Gillissen, bought from above in 1991.
With costom made iron stand painted in black.
Height: masker 30 cm.
– total with stand: 47 cm.
Democratic Republic of the Congo
The Bantu peoples, or Bantu, are an ethnolinguistic grouping of approximately 400 distinct ethnic groups who speak Bantu languages, consisting of some 600 languages with varied mutual intelligibility. The languages are native to 24 countries spread over a vast area from Central Africa to Southeast Africa and into Southern Africa. There are several hundred Bantu languages. Depending on the definition of “language” or “dialect”, it is estimated that there are between 440 and 680 distinct languages. The total number of speakers is in the hundreds of millions, ranging at roughly 350 million in the mid-2010s (roughly 30% of the population of Africa, or roughly 5% of the total world population). About 60 million speakers (2015), divided into some 200 ethnic or tribal groups, are found in the Democratic Republic of the Congo alone.
The larger of the individual Bantu groups have populations of several million, e.g. the people of Rwanda and Burundi (25 million), the Bagandapeople of Uganda (10 million as of 2019), the Shona of Zimbabwe (15 million as of 2018), the Zulu of South Africa (12 million as of 2005), the Luba of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (7 million as of 2010), the Sukuma of Tanzania (9 million as of 2016), the Kikuyu of Kenya (8.1 million as of 2019), the Xhosa people of Southern Africa (8.1 million as of 2011), or the Pedi of South Africa (5.7 million as of 2017).
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