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.
- Face Mask (Ngady Amwaash)
- Democratic Republic of the Congo
- Wood, pigment, glass beads, cowrie shells, fabric, and thread
- 31.8 × 20.6 × 20.5 cm (12 1/2 × 8 1/8 × 10 in.)
- 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