Skip to Content
Today Open today 10–11 members | 11–5 public

Face Mask (Ngady Mwaash)

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.


Late 19th-mid 20th century


Kasai region, Democratic Republic of the Congo
Central Africa

About this artwork

The ngady mwaash mask honors the role of women in Kuba life. It portrays a woman but, like other masks in Africa, is performed by a man. The most popular appearance of ngady mwaash is in a pantomime about the kingdom’s creation: ngady mwaash dances together with the mooshamb-wooy mask, representing the king (who is both her brother and her husband), and the bwoom mask [See 1982.1506].


On View, Gallery 137


Arts of Africa




Face Mask (Ngady Mwaash)


Democratic Republic of the Congo (Object made in)

Date  Dates are not always precisely known, but the Art Institute strives to present this information as consistently and legibly as possible. Dates may be represented as a range that spans decades, centuries, dynasties, or periods and may include qualifiers such as c. (circa) or BCE.



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


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

Credit Line

Purchased with funds provided by 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


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 . Information about image downloads and licensing is available here.


Sign up for our enewsletter to receive updates.

Learn more

Image actions