Africa

Mbuya mask from the DRC

Pende people
Pende people

Q:  I just acquired this mask at an estate sale. It is made of very lightweight wood and appears to be quite old. There is also a kind of fabric made from woven grass attached to the top and lower parts of the mask. The mask measures 11″ x 11″ (including fabric)
or 7″ x 7″ (wooden part only) with a 5.5″ depth. Any information you can provide would be much appreciated.  Simon, 786

A:  The Pende are an important culture that has produced a wide range of masks and other sculptures.

They are located near the center of what we call the Democratic Republic of the the Congo. This Mbuya type mask is typical of the Katundu style and is easy to recognize. Yours is quite rough. The ones you see in books and museums are more carefully carved and colored. This one would still be desirable to collectors if it was as old as it appears.  ?

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