On offer from our personal collection is this fabulous helmet mask from the Kuba peoples of the DR Congo. With its leonine mane, the mask is adorned with a full head & beard of raffia. A particularly handsome mask, it possesses a most regal, dignified presence.
The master carver responsible for this outstanding piece has captured extraordinary essence in its facial features. The jawline & prominent brow have been painted with a classic triangular motif, typical of the Kuba. Stripes representing tears are painted on & below the striated, coffee-bean-shaped eyes, & wide bands of white pigment have been applied above the eyes. Studded metal plates highlight the upper brow & nostrils. A double row of braided raffia wraps around the bottom rim of the mask. Perforations (which do not penetrate the wood) underscore the cheeks. The helmet formation is completed by a well-constructed basket attached to the back of the mask.
Despite some imperfections, this powerful piece is in good overall condition. There are scuffs & scrapes, evidence of insect damage (arrested), & the raffia is rather delicate & thinning a bit in a few areas. The mask makes an absolutely stunning display.