Kuba Mask, with
Cut raffia hair. Natural hair beard.
Cowrie shell and
bead trim. This is an
older piece, precise age uncertain.
More than twenty different masks, each with different meanings and functions, have roles in the art of the Kuba people. They vary from subset to subset, with wooden helmet masks being the most common. The variety and complexity of design, with wonderful decoration and surface designs in vibrant colors, patterns, and textures makes these masks - when authentic - very attractive to art and cultural collectors. Face masks like the one shown here are augmented with full-body costumes to complete the manifestation of spirits that serve as intermediaries between the Supreme Being and the people. Masking ceremonies and dances are usually associated with manhood initiations and funerals, events of great significance to the Kuba people
return to African
tribal art gallery