Mask (mbuya)

Pende peoples
20th century, 1950–2000
Artist Unidentified


Object Place: Democratic Republic of the Congo

Dimensions

Overall: 33 x 23 x 21 cm (13 x 9 1/16 x 8 1/4 in.)

Accession Number

2009.2693

Medium or Technique

Wood, pigment, cloth, raffia

Not On View

Collections

Africa and Oceania, Contemporary Art

Classifications

Sculpture

This mask of the mbuya type belongs in the context of Pende men’s fraternities that performed masquerades for the entire community. Although the costume is missing, this work can be identified by its horned coiffure with receding hairline. It represents pumbu, the “executioner,” a man who killed another human being and thus commands fear and respect.

Provenance

1970s, sold by an unidentified African merchant in Cambridge, MA, to Geneviève McMillan (b. 1922 - d. 2008), Cambridge, MA; 2008, to the Geneviève McMillan and Reba Stewart Foundation, Cambridge; 2009, gift of the Geneviève McMillan and Reba Stewart Foundation to the MFA. (Accession Date: June 17, 2009)

Credit Line

Gift of Geneviève McMillan in memory of Reba Stewart