Helmet Mask (Kholuka or Mbala)

A work made of wood, raffia, and pigment.

Image actions

  • A work made of wood, raffia, and pigment.

Date:

Late 19th/early 20th century

Artist:

Yaka
Bandundu region, Democratic Republic of the Congo
Central Africa

About this artwork

In the past, Yaka masks like this example comprising a wooden face with a dome-shaped hairstyle of twigs and cloth appeared in performances marking the end of the male puberty ritual called n-khanda. They embodied the ancestors who watched over fertility and well-being, and celebrated the boys’ reintegration into society as adults after a long period of seclusion at the edge of the village. The masks’ imagery refers to Yaka concepts of cosmogony and sexuality.

On View

Arts of Africa, Gallery 137

Artist

Yaka

Title

Helmet Mask (Kholuka or Mbala)

Origin

Democratic Republic of the Congo

Date

1875–1925

Medium

Wood, raffia, and pigment

Dimensions

H. 45.7 cm (18 in.)

Credit Line

Gift of Neal Ball

Reference Number

2009.118

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