A Kasai Pende bifurcated facemask
Lot 2584
A Kasai Pende bifurcated facemask
US$ 5,500 - 7,500
£3,300 - 4,500
Auction Details
Lot Details
A rare Kasai Pende bifurcated facemask
Democratic Republic of Congo, a fine example of this rare type; the mask’s proper left side in red, with a coffee bean shaped eye, and horn terminating in a sword. The proper right side is black, with tubular eye and antelope style horn.
height 22in


  • Exhibited:
    Governors State University, IL, 2003
    Krannert Art Museum, IL, 2003
    Belger Art Foundation/University of Missouri-Kansas City, MO, 2004
    Tall Grass Art Association, IL, 2005

    Bourgeois and Rodolitz, REMNANTS OF RITUAL: SELECTIONS FROM THE GELBARD COLLECTION OF AFRICAN ART, Ethnos, New York, 2003, p.38, fig.86

    Rodolitz , S., “Replica or Reference? A Reassesment of Pende Ikhoko”, Tribal magazine No. 31. Fig. 18.

    In masks of the Eastern or Kasai Pende known as mbuya jia mukanda or circumcision masks, the facial portion is generally triangular with the upper part presenting short swords, animal horns, geometric board-shaped forms or in some cases figurines. This example is of the kakubu a matemo variety with opposition between the forms surmounting the head, contrast of red and white coloring, and combination of an open and closed eye. This likely refers to the duality of the personified spirit represented and its reference to both the living and the dead. The inherent asymmetries of the form vanish in this exceedingly rare and finely balanced old example.