Very Old Bakongo Death Mask. DRC. Congo. Africa.
The solidarity of the Bakongo people has a long history based on the dynamics of the Kongo Kingdom, first discovered in the fifteenth century by a Portuguese explorer.
There are numerous subgroups / tribes that make up the cultural and spiritual complex. Examples: the Vili, Woyo, Yombe and others. Most have their own unique styles and mask uses.
Enter this Death Mask. There are death masks that honor deceased ancestors and there are masks that drive away witches, evil spirits and harmful sorcerers.
My guess is that with the hollow eye sockets, skull shape and decaying-color pigment that it was used in evil spirit rituals…. really evil rituals. I would go further in saying that it was probably used in a ritual to curse or spell on a living person.
Notice the metamorphosis from a human-shaped skill into an animal’s snout.
Regardless, this is an authentic mask acquired 70 years ago by an anthropologist from the Netherlands. It ended up in an avid collector’s collection in the mid-1980s, and into my hands recently. It is in very good condition considering its age and use.
For the Serious Congo Mask Collector. Stand is not included.