Face Mask

A work made of wood, kaolin, and pigment.

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

Date:

Late 19th/early 20th century

Artist:

Possibly Bwa
Uele region, Democratic Republic of the Congo
Central Africa

About this artwork

Little is known about the meaning and use of these masks. Only 20 examples are extant and even their common attribution to the little-known Bwa (or Boa) people remains uncertain. Named pongdudu in early 20th-century written sources, such face masks were described as promising to confer invulnerability during battle, and instilling fear in the enemy. However, recent research has indicated that the relationship between these masks and warfare is fictitious.

On View

Arts of Africa, Gallery 137

Artist

Bwa

Title

Face Mask

Origin

Democratic Republic of the Congo

Date

1875–1925

Medium

Wood, kaolin, and pigment

Dimensions

H. 28.6 cm (11 1/4 in.)

Credit Line

Samuel A. Marx Restricted Fund

Reference Number

1961.915

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 .

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