Face Mask (Ngady Amwaash)

A work made of wood, pigment, glass beads, cowrie shells, fabric, and thread.

Image actions

  • A work made of wood, pigment, glass beads, cowrie shells, fabric, and thread.

Date:

Late 19th/mid–20th century

Artist:

Kuba
Kasai region, Democratic Republic of the Congo
Central Africa

About this artwork

The Kuba kingdom’s history can be traced to the 16th century. According to oral tradition, the ngady amwaash mask dates to the first Kuba dynasty and honors the role of women in Kuba life. The triangles on the mask’s face represent hearthstones, and the diagonal lines extending below the eyes symbolize tears, evoking hardship. Though it represents a woman, the mask is performed by a man. Appearing with the mooshambwooy mask, representing the king (1982.1504), and the bwoom mask, representing the king’s younger brother (1982.1506), the ngady amwaash mask pantomimes the winning of followers for the king, who is her husband and brother.

On View

Arts of Africa, Gallery 137

Artist

Kuba

Title

Face Mask (Ngady Amwaash)

Origin

Kasai-Occidental

Date

1875–1950

Medium

Wood, pigment, glass beads, cowrie shells, fabric, and thread

Dimensions

31.8 × 20.6 × 20.5 cm (12 1/2 × 8 1/8 × 10 in.)

Credit Line

Restricted gift of the American Hospital Supply Corp., the Evanston Associates of the Woman's Board in honor of Wilbur Tuggle, Deborah Stokes and Jeffrey Hammer, William E. Hartmann, Charles A. Meyer, D. Daniel Michel, and Claire B. Zeisler; African and Amerindian Art Purchase Fund

Reference Number

1982.1505

Extended information about this artwork

Object information is a work in progress and may be updated as new research findings emerge. To help improve this record, please email .

Share

Sign up for our enewsletter to receive updates.

Learn more

Image actions

Share