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HOME : African & Tribal Art : Kuba Masks : Kuba Ngaady a Mwaash Mask
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Kuba Ngaady a Mwaash Mask - PF.5999
Origin: Democratic Republic of Congo
Circa: 20 th Century AD
Dimensions: 10.25" (26.0cm) high x 6" (15.2cm) wide
Collection: African
Medium: Mixed Media

Location: United States
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The Kuba people are a confederation of nineteen ethnic groups dominated by the Bushong. Although the Kuba have over twenty different types of mask, this type is the most important. Called Ngaady a Mwaash, this mask belongs to the royal family. Worn during public ceremonies, the masqueraders invoke the Bushong myth of creation and historical events as well. The mask represents the sister and wife of Woot, progenitor of the Bushong. Stylistically, Ngaady masks consist of a rather naturalistic face painted with triangular geometric pattern imitating the texture of the pangolin’s scales. The mask is finished by a raffia hood sewn with cowrie shells and glass beads. The nose and mouth of the mask are decorated with a strip of fabric covered in beads, a feature typically found only on royal masks. The well-defined contours of the forehead with points near the temples relates to the characteristic Kuba hairstyle. Gazing upon this sumptuous mask, we are looking into the eyes of royalty. The beauty of this mask invokes the splendor of the Kuba culture, its history and its myths. - (PF.5999)


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