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Bakongo Painted Mask Headdress Congo African Art

Product #: 111559
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Title Bakongo Painted Mask Headdress Congo African Art
Type of Object  
Country of Origin Democratic Republic of Congo
People Bakongo or Kongo
Materials wood, pigment, vegetal material
Approximate Age Mid 20th century
Dimensions Height: 10.5 Inches
Width: 8 Inches
15 inches long with headdress
Overall Condition Fair. Most of our pieces have spent decades on at least two continents, and have been treasured by several owners. Please look carefully at the pictures which may also reveal condition and damage.
Damage/Repair worn pigment and patina; scrapes and scratches

Additional Information:  An expressive mask with large ears painted white and black.  . The facial features also have features and "scarification that resemble the Chokwe.

 Masks are used during initiations and funerals of important individuals, or they may have social control functions or used by diviners and healers.  When used by diviners the mask exercised power in the same fashion as the well-known nkissi figures (also known as nail fetishes).  The subtle relief carving of the face with the prominent mouth showing carved teeth add to the character of this mask.  Among neighboring Kongo peoples red is used for bravery, male potency; black for darkness and white to illustrate illumination and knowledge or femininity, fertility and social harmony.  White also makes reference to female ancestral spirits known as simbi. The inner side of the mask is smoothed reflecting use over an extended period of time.

 Recommended  Reading:  

J. Cornet;  Art of Africa, Treasures from the Congo.  1971

 E. M. Maurer and Niangi, B.:  Spirits Embodied: Art of the Congo. 1999.

 Art of the Congo, Walker Art Center