Pende Muyombo mask, Democratic Republic of the Congo
wood, woven raffia, pigment
13" tall x 7" wide
mid 20th Century, signs of age and use


Finely carved and in nice proportions, this mask has a very serene
expression that you are accustom to seeing on these types of Pende
masks. They were worn on top of the head like a cap and were meant to be
viewed as if someone was viewing a deceased person laid out at a funeral.
Raffia would have been attached to the holes in the protruding beard and
would cover the dancer's face. The black areas on the sides of the cheeks
also represent the beard.

giwoyo, kindjinga, and muyombo were all ancient mask types with long
beards which could only be differentiated when seen worn during the dance.
Each of the three represented a solemn concept, one that demanded
respect and veneration from its viewers. In the order of the dance, the
longbeards would perform soon after
tundu the clown and mbangu the
epileptic had finished.
For additional detail click on any thumbnail to see the high resolution version of the image.