Pere mask from the DRC

Q:  I was hoping you can identify the possible age and origin of 1 of 2 masks purchased from a local sale here in New Jersey?  Both were purchased for less than $10 and the size of the painted wooden one I’m inquiring about here is roughly 10 x 7-1/2 x 5 inches. Can you please help?  Jo, 1163

A:  Fortunately I was able to discover a similar mask from the Pere of the DRC. They are a semi-nomadic tribe in northeastern area somewhere between the Komo and the Ndaaka that came from Uganda in the 1800’s. It was suggested the mask was used to celebrate the ancestor cult, Ndekele, and the cult of the twins. I hope you can find out more about this small group called the Pere. I’ve never heard of them. Age of the mask will be difficult to determine.

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