Africa

Hemba helmet mask from the DRC

Q: Please, can you appraise this mask for me. Sold to me as Ekoi, which it is not. Possibly Suku? It has a leather covering of the facial and neck areas. Bought in South Africa. No provenance. I collect masks from Western and Central African– genuine, tribally-used items only. David, 1736

A: You are correct. It is a Hemba mask from the Suku people in the South-western part of the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Unfortunately, I must remind you that reproductions of Hemba helmet masks are numerous, and they are always made to look old and used. Yours may be an exceptionally well-made repro. I advise you to keep it until a careful inspection can be made. B?

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