Africa

Rare Bindji mask from DRC

Q: This mask does have some history. Me and my father worked in the Democratic Republic of Congo. While there we purchased a few masks, some of which are tourist pieces, but every now and then we got a good one. This one was given to us as a farewell present when we left. But I have no info about where it is from and if or not it is old. Judging by the wood it dose have some age to it. It also seams to have been repaired at some point. The repair is one of my favorite features of it. Here are some pictures. Please let me know what you think. Marcel, 1531

A: This could be an authentic used mask or a very well made reproduction with “native repairs.” It could be made by the Bindji tribe, who live along the Luluwa River in the middle of the DRC, or one of the nearby tribes. These masks are not often seen on the market. The person who gave you the mask might have been knowledgeable and well connected. If we’re lucky this could be a valuable carving worthy of a fine collection.

Try to find a museum, dealer or collector who specializes in artifacts from the Congo Basin, Zaire or the DRC. And do keep us informed on what you find out.

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