Africa Direct
Africa Direct

Metoko Wood Mask Congo

AvailabilityIn stock
Special Price $99.00 Regular Price $350.00
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Brand Unbranded
Type of Object Mask
Country of Origin Democratic Republic of Congo
People Metoko
Materials Wood, pigment
Approximate Age 20th century
Height (in) 10
Width (in) 7.5
Depth (in) 4
Overall Condition Fair to Good. Most of our pieces have spent decades on at least two continents, and have been treasured by several owners.  
Damage/Repair Missing raffia on ear and encrustation in mouth and teeth.

Metoko style is recognized here by the conceptual form of the face and its details.

Masks like this are used by a semi-secret society known as Bukota among the Metoko and Lengola to which both men and women belong. Bukota is similar to the Bwami society among the Lega where masks serve to instruct, initiate and function as badges validating the initiate’s knowledge of the secrets of Bwami and indicates their rank. Though not specifically assigned a particular purpose Metoko masks appear at funerals, initiations of members of the Bukota society and at the time of punishment of malefactors and witches. Lengola and Metoko masks are uncommon and this is a particularly finely carved example that would add to a collection.

The 15,000 Metoko live in east central part of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, west of the confluence of the Ulindi and Zaire Rivers. Their neighbors to the north are the Lengola, with the Kumu and the Lega to their east. The Metoko and Lengola people live on the left bank of the Zaire River in an area that is densely wooded. They are heavily influenced in their art and secret societies by their more numerous neighbors the Lega. There are relatively few masks from either the Metoko or Lengola with major influences coming from the Lega where masks play a vital role in Bwami Society rituals and ceremonies.