"Hemba" mask, Suku, D. R. Congo.
"Hemba" masks are reportedly images of deceased elders, notably chiefs of the maternal lineage. They are used to insure luck in the hunt, to punish criminals, and for healing ceremonies. It is common for these masks to have animals surmounting the helmet looking down upon the face.
This is a fine and large bell- shaped helmet mask with heavily lidded sicle-shaped eyes and white pigmented face. Carved figure of an antelope on top of the mask; large fiber ruff around the perimeter. The strongly carved face and the detailing of the eyes and mouth are evidence the work of a skilled carver.
Condition: min. dam., missing parts (left ear), loose pigmentation (chalk on the face), restoration (right horn tip), slight traces of abrasion, on MDF/metal base.
Diameter 23 cm / 9 inch.
Height with ruff 60 cm / 23.5 inch.
Height wooden part 48 cm / 18.9 inch.
Obtained from a former teacher, who had received the mask from a missionary before 1950.