Democratic Republic of Congo, a classic Eastern Pende helmet mask, with large flat beard, and projecting snout. Boldly pigmented with original fiber panel attached to the reverse. Fine patina. height 15in
Provenance: Marc Felix
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
Published: Bourgeois and Rodolitz, REMNANTS OF RITUAL: SELECTIONS FROM THE GELBARD COLLECTION OF AFRICAN ART, Ethnos, New York, 2003, p.38, fig.87
This helmet mask, featuring a horizontal beard-like disk, is linked with both the aggressive and nurturing side of chiefly and ancestral authority. The mask performs during renewal rites that accompany millet sowing and, when not in use, forms part of the chief's treasure and is kept in his residence together with other sacred objects. This fine old example successfully integrates the almost contradictory elements of the form; the arcing brows, the forward thrusting nose and the jutting beard resolve themselves into a cohesive artistic expression.