Beautiful discovery from the Congo

Northern Congo (DRC)

Q: Dear members of African Arts group. I would like to ask for a help to identify this beautiful and highly expressive mask.  I have purchased it as a ‘Kwame’ mask, however, my colleague from France suggested possible Zande influence. At the same time there are certain characteristics of Lega visual language articulated here. Thank you very much.  David, 574

A: The question was sent to the African_Arts groups first. By now David has received comments from several members on the Northern Congo origin of his beautiful mask. Feel free to join this scholarly Yahoo discussion group if you are seriously interested in African masks. I certainly appreciate being a member. Since I devote time to masks from all over the world, my expertise in any particular culture is quite limited.

Though I have little background in art history, I do claim experience in painting and sculpture. So I want David to know that the carver of his mask displays skill and creativity. In my opinion, it is an original and very fine work of art.  A


  • leon

    Again this could be a south east angolan or zambian mask typical of the wood shine colour and patine southern africa, lega is not to far north from it!

  • DUBOIS Marc

    I agree with “Zande” or even better “MANGBETU”; anyway a tribe from the UELE region, which is the North East part of RDC (Republique Démocratique du Congo). Knowing that the Mangbetu do not produce a lot of masks; the displayed item would be a rarity… or a tourist item !

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