From our personal collection, on offer is this stately helmet mask from the Kuba/Biombo peoples of the DR Congo. Such bell-shaped masks are worn during initiation rites & at funerals.
The face & forehead have been painted with a classic triangular motif, typical of the Kuba & Biombo, as well as the neighboring Eastern Pende. Stripes under both coffee-bean-shaped eyes represent tears. A series of protruding nodules appear on both sides of the head. Atop the mask is a crown adorned with cowrie shells. An elaborately beaded & cowrie-shelled fiber skirt is attached to the full circumference of the bottom rim of the piece.
Despite a few imperfections, none of which detract from the mask's appearance, this handsome piece is in good overall condition. A few of the cowrie shells (a total of 7) are missing; there are some scrapes & chips (please see photos); & there are a couple of dry age cracks to the back of the mask. Nearly all of the intricate beadwork is still intact. The mask displays beautifully.