Africa

It reminds us of the Congo

Tourist mask
Tourist mask

Q: Hi Bob, I found this small mask at an estate sale this weekend. It is made of carved wood and measures 8″ in length, 4.5″ in width and 3″ in depth. The owner described it as a “Wisdom mask from the Congo”. Any further information would be much appreciated.
Thanks, Simon, 828

A: Yes, this mask looks like it came from the Congo region. Perhaps it is a “wisdom mask.” But I don’t think we can attribute it to any particular culture or think of it as a true example of something that would have been used in a ceremony or celebration. C

It is probably just a wood carving made for the tourist trade. Many people are happy to hang something on their walls that is attractive and reminds them of another culture. However, most of the collectors we know are looking for masks that convincingly portray an artistic tradition.

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