Helmet mask (gipogo)

19th–20th century
Artist Unidentified

Object Place: Democratic Republic of the Congo


33.02 cm (13 in.)

Accession Number


Medium or Technique

Wood, pigment

Not On View


Africa and Oceania



The eastern or Kasai Pende employed several large helmet masks associated with the power of the king and chiefs. This gipogo type appeared at village healing/nurturing rituals. A boldly carved, almost spherical form, it displays protruding features and a shelf like horizontal beard edged with diamond motifs similar to Chokwe and Kuba decoration. Black and white details highlight the dominant red color.


Exchanged by a private collector with Maurice Bonnefoy (dealer), Paris and New York (stock no. 1204); November 9, 1987, sold by Bonnefoy to William and Bertha Teel, Marblehead, MA; 1994, partial gift of William and Bertha Teel to the MFA; 2014, acquired fully with the bequest of William Teel to the MFA. (Accession Dates: January 26, 1994 and February 26, 2014)

Credit Line

Gift of William E. and Bertha L. Teel