Much larger Congo mask


Q:  Just wondering if you could kindly identify this mask for me. I came across it whilst in Africa. It came off a truck that was doing a trans-Africa tour approx 30 years ago. I believe it came from West Africa. It is wooden with a rafia beard and the size including beard is 137cm (wooden mask height only is 68cm), the width is 39cm, so it is quite big.  Paul, 704

A:  When it rains it pours Congo masks. This one is indeed big. Masks this large are made by African tribes occasionally. I can see normal sized masks that look a bit like this one from the Ngbandi, Zande and Ngbaka people of northern Democratic Republic of Congo, or the Chokwe, Lwena and Ngangela in southern parts of the DRC. It would be great if you could take it to a specialist in African traditional art. In addition to pinning it down to a particular tribe, that person could tell you if it was truly used or just a reproduction (in case you want to sell it).

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