Female Face Mask, “mbuya”, Pende Mask, DR Congo (Zaïre)
H: 25 cm (9,8″), W: 24 cm (9,4″), D: 15 cm (5,9″)
Pende masks are among the most dramatic works of all African art. The Pende are especially well known for their masks that were originally used for circumcision ceremonies but later became accessories for a type of popular theater.
While most African masks represent idealized types, revered animals or spirits, or emphasize grossly exaggerated features to frighten away mischievous spirits, the Pende are unique among African tribes in their willingness to address human sickness in art. Their eyes usually seem closed, or downward-looking, and the colours favoured are black, white, red or ochre.
The female mask dances to the rhythms of comtemporary popular dances and performs little comedies with a mirror and comb to suggest her vanity and preoccupation with appearance.
Provenance: Private Danish collection. It was either acquired directly from Lau (Laurence) Sunde’s collection in Copenhagen, which dates back to the 1940s, or Lau (Laurence) Sunde was an adviser to the collector.
Sunde had a “Etnografica” boutique in 1948, that became recognized among collectors as the most specialized boutique of its kind at the time. Tribal and oriental artefacts were purchased from private collectors as well as at auctions in Paris, Amsterdam and London, among other places.
Full description of Lau (Laurence) Sunde will be forwarded by request.Request price for Mbuya Mask