It certainly is African

Congo area
Congo area

Q: I obtained this from a friend, who’s great uncle lived in Africa and collected various weapons, musical instruments, and of course mask. The white that outlines the eyes, ears, and mouth is some sort of gritty paint that can be scratched off. The mask is about 15 inches tall including the burlap top( 9 inches from the top of the forehead to chin) it is 7 and 1/2 inches across. The cone on the top seems to be made of straw and covered with burlap. Would love to know where it originated from and its purpose …if in fact it is an authentic mask. Thanks in advance for you time and assistance. Angie, 600

A: Thanks for the pictures and description. I think your mask has a Congo feel to it. Reminds me a little of both Pende and Salampasu, but I’m not sure. Possible usage is initiation rites, funerals, etc. Was it used in culture, or was that old look artificially added for European and American collectors? I hope readers will comment on where it is from… and it’s possible authenticity.


  • DUBOIS Marc

    This is definitively a Pende mask with all the attributes of it.
    Most of the Pende masks have lost their ritual characters and are now used for (touristic) entertainment and/or sale. In my opinion, the mask belongs to this category.

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