Antique 18th century wood helmet mask from the Kuba tribe, central Congo. Painted wood face decorated with beads.
Woven raffia headdress with cowrie shells and bead details.
This mask is one of the three Kuba royal masks known as a female mask - Ngaady Mwaash. Her face is entirely covered with bold geometric designs. The black triangles across the forehead, temples and lower face represent the black stones of the hearth and domesticity. They also recall the triangles of dark and light bark cloth, fabrics which are associated with ancestry clothing and still worn during periods of mourning. Said to be Woot’s sister and his wife, Ngaady Mwaash Ambooy is the female ancestor and essence of womanhood. The use of the bark cloth motifs may be a conscious device to indicate the ideas of suffering and mourning and to allude to ancestral ties. Diagonal lines below Ngaady Mwaash Ambooy's eyes symbolize tears and refer to the hardships of women.
Mounted on a reclaimed iron stand.
Overall 26"h x 12"w x 10"d. Mask is 18"h x 12"w x 10"d.
Due to the limited nature and age of vintage accessories, this item is non-returnable.