A Bembe janus helmet mask
Lot 2606
A Bembe janus helmet mask
Sold for US$ 18,000 inc. premium
Auction Details
Lot Details
A Bembe janus helmet mask
Democratic Republic of Congo, of typical form, the janus helmet mask with large concave orbits retaining original pigmentation, and raised devices to the sides. Excellent overall surface patina.
height 18in


  • Provenance:
    Gossiaux Collection
    Marc Felix

    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.51, fig.108

    Known as Kalunga, this barrel-shaped mask of the Bembe is said to embody forest spirits, and was generally hidden away and revealed only to select initiates. Its appearance in the village could range from entertainment to the imposition of fines and the settling of disputes especially if a member of the Alunga association was concerned. It is Janus-faced, or doubled, and the entire visage reduced to two enormous eyes with cylindrical pupils framed in star shapes.