With its significant provenance -- Ex-Collection Emerson Woelffer -- on offer from our personal collection is this outstanding, old helmet mask from the Kuba peoples of the DR Congo. For Woelffer (1914-2003), prominent American Abstract Expressionist artist & educator, African & ethnic art proved to be a lifelong interest. During his lifetime, he amassed a considerable private collection of primitive works.
A sizable mask, the cheeks are accentuated with multiple rows of raised & incised scarifications. The hair is plaited handsomely on the back of the head, plus an incised horn-like configuration flows across the forehead & behind the ears. The open mouth with its filed teeth lends a heightened aggressive attitude to the mask's appearance. Although the piece doesn't conform to a more typical iteration of the renowned Bwoom masks, we suspect it may in fact be a rare & unusual variant of that style.
Despite a few imperfections in the wood, including evidence of old insect damage (arrested) & repair to the jaw (stable), this imposing mask is in good overall condition, & would make a superb addition to any serious ethnographic collection. Superb patina. Powerful display.