Eastern Pende Mask, Democratic Republic of the Congo
width 22 3/4in (58cm)
On reverse in handscript: Masque Panya Ngombe No3
David Gelbard, New York
Bonhams, New York, 13 November 2007, Lot 2580
Private Collection, New York
Mansfield Art Center, Mansfield, OH, 1992
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
Butts, H., The Faces of Africa : Sub-Saharan Sculpture, Mansfield Art Center, 1992. Fig. 74.
Bourgeois and Rodolitz, Remnants of Ritual: Selections from the Gelbard Collection of African Art, Ethnos, New York, 2003, p.36, fig.82
Large and stylized with massive bulbous eyes, this mask has attenuated ears and triangular jaw-line pattern deeply carved and highly expressive.
Sharing both a masquerade and an architectural function, the panya ngombe mask of the Eastern or Kasai Pende signifies a wild buffalo, yet in performance it is the mask that collects offerings at the end of initiation festivities. Versions of this mask known as kenene decorate the lintel on a paramount chief's dwelling.