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
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.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.