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Female Face Mask (Mbuya ya Mukhetu)

A work made of wood, pigment, and raffia.

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

Date:

Early/mid–20th century

Artist:

Central Pende
Bandundu region, Democratic Republic of the Congo
Central Africa

About this artwork

Since the mid-20th century Pende masquerades have mainly been organized for entertainment, but they were previously charged with fostering communion between the living and the dead. Such performances occurred when the millet was sowed or harvested or when epidemics threatened the community. This female mask is adorned with a wig of small raffia braids. The maker has also evoked the local practice of beautifying the skin with a mixture of camwood powder and oil.

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Arts of Africa

Culture

Pende

Title

Female Face Mask (Mbuya ya Mukhetu)

Origin

Democratic Republic of the Congo

Date

1900–1950

Medium

Wood, pigment, and raffia

Dimensions

29.2 × 36.2 cm (11 1/2 × 14 1/2 in.)

Credit Line

Gift of Neal Ball in honor of Richard Townsend

Reference Number

2018.125

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.

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