Helmet Mask (Mukenga)

Mask with protruding stylized elephant trunk, red feather pom-pom, attached beard

Image actions

  • Mask with protruding stylized elephant trunk, red feather pom-pom, attached beard

Date:

Late 19th/mid–20th century

Artist:

Kuba
Kasai region, Democratic Republic of the Congo
Central Africa

About this artwork

The mukenga mask is worn along with a richly layered costume of raffia and beaded ornaments at funerals of titleholders in the northern part of the Kuba Kingdom. Its form and materials comprise elements associated with status and leadership, including cowrie shells, leopard fur, monkey hair, glass beads, and red tail feathers of the African gray parrot. A prominent trunk and two tusks refer to the elephant, the supreme symbol of wealth and leadership among the Kuba.

On View

Arts of Africa, Gallery 137

Artist

Kuba

Title

Helmet Mask (Mukenga)

Origin

Democratic Republic of the Congo

Date

1875–1950

Medium

Wood, glass beads, cowrie shells, feathers, raffia, fur, fabric, thread, monkey hair, and bells

Dimensions

57.5 × 24.1 × 20.3 cm (22 5/8 × 9 1/2 × 8 in.)

Credit Line

Laura T. Magnuson Fund

Reference Number

1982.1504

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