A Kwele helmet mask, ngongtanga
Lot 707
A Kwele helmet mask, ngongtanga
Sold for US$ 3,600 inc. premium
Auction Details
Lot Details
Property of various owners
A Kwele helmet mask, ngongtanga
Gabon, the high domed mask with bisected sagital crest with remains of black painted surface, above four oval masks each with incised double arched brows, pierced almond eyes, ridge nose, triple vertical cheek incisions beneath the eyes, painted with white pigment, perimeter pierced.
height 18 ½in

Footnotes

  • Provenance:
    Collected by the current owner’s father, who worked for SOMIFER; an African subsidiary of Bethlehem Steel, between 1957 and 1967 in Belinga, Gabon, in Kwele territory, not far from the border with Republic of Congo (Brazzaville). The owner’s father was subsequently decorated by both former president Leon Mba and current president Omar Bongo of Gabon.

    Belinga, not far from the Ivindo River, is an iron rich mining center in Kwele country. As discussed in Siroto (1995), the Kwele, along with their neighbors the Yesa, adopted the ngongtanga mask from the Fang, although its original significance was lost.

    This offering, though probably dating to the late 1950’s, is an authentic Kwele creation that incorporates Kwele stylistic characteristics onto a foreign Fang medium.
Activities
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