Q: I recently purchased this wooden mast at auction because I found it quite striking. The mask is 24″ tall and was described as an old Songye Congo carved wooden Kifwebe mask with an unusual animal crest. I would greatly appreciate your opinion of the mask and it’s description. Jason, 798
A: It is not a Songye Kifwebe mask. Nor does it resemble the work done by any of the various tribes occupying the Congo basin. The best I can tell you is that it probably was made somewhere in West Africa. It looks old and used, but almost all of the African masks we see on the market have been artificially aged to make them more appealing to the tourist market. I agree that it will look “quite striking” on the wall of someones home or office. Let’s hope one of our readers who is more experienced with African traditional art will help us with a more precise identification.