African Beaded Helmet Mask, Lele-Congo, Circa.1920-1940

A well-danced work of tribal art, comprised of wood, textile, beads, cowrie shells and fibre. The Lele people occupy the western portion of the Kuba kingdom in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Their art is not well-known and is similar to Kuba styles with the exception of the masks which generally have a flattened shape. Such masks were used in initiation ceremonies for boys, funerals, or rituals concerning the sacred king. The detailed workmanship and and imaginative combination of materials are simply astonishing. Authentic old helmet masks of this degree of workmanship, rarity and visual impact are seldom seen outside of museums or advanced collections.

The mask measures about 16" tall and is roughly 12" across at the widest part of the bottom. Condition appears to be relatively excellent; however there it appears there may be a cowrie bundle (like on the sides) missing on the top. I do not know this for sure, only that there are some loose threads there. The mask is large enough to wear and has a pronounced smell of the campfire after many years. It has a very powerful presence that you can feel when you look at it. Display stand included.

Item ID: COC-108

$1,175 USD

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