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Pende Janus Helmet Mask Congo African Art

Regular Price: $350.00

Special Price: $190.00

Product #: 119825
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Title Pende Janus Helmet Mask Congo African Art
Type of Object Mask, carving
Country of Origin Democratic Republic of Congo
People Pende
Materials Wood, pigment
Approximate Age 20th century
Dimensions Height: 11 Inches
Width: 9.5 Inches
Depth: 13 Inches
Overall Condition Fair
Damage/Repair Large cracks and chips, indigenous repairs, worn patina


Additional Information: This large, well-carved mask, with its stunning janus faces is from the eastern part of Pende territory. The mask would have been owned by a chief. Today masks of this type and a number of others are used mainly for the decoration of the chief's hut, but they are still danced on rare occasions.  When danced, the mask expressed the power and authority of the chief.  Geometric designs filled with colorful pigments reflected the chief's prestige.  


The Pende, like most of the art-producing cultures from the western Congo, have a rich artisitic tradition and have produced many masterpieces found in galleries and museums. They are perhaps best known for their "mbuya" initiation masks, and the exquisite little ivory masquettes known as "ikhoko" given to newly initiated boys, which are worn and treasured for life.


The Pende are known for their artistic forms ranging from house decorations, figural sculptures, numerous carved ivory pendants, to a wide variety of masks. Masks from the eastern Pende are fairly numerous and often abstract with a generous use of red, black and white coloring.  Masks similar to this example are known as Pumbu Ya Mafumu and are dedicated to society elites.  They are large masks and are worn with a ruff of grass that is held by a number of holes along the sides and bottom of the mask. These large masks will be carried during ceremonies or in some instances hung on walls.