Masks of this kind were used in ritual contexts. Made from vegetable fibres and embellished with wooden elements, cowries and beads, these items were originally a royal emblem. The mask was worn by the king himself during the dances that preceded his inauguration ceremony. It was then stored until the day of the king’s death, and displayed together with his body before burial. A similar specimen was used by village youths during the Babende (initiatory ritual). In recent years, the mask has reappeared in folk performances, spurred by a growth in tourism.