Mask (Kasangu)

Face mask made of wood, covered in white kaolin; face has round, bulging forehead, deep set narrow eyes, small round ears, fiber beard, open rectangular mouth and pointed teeth; basketry weave that held mask on the dancer’s head is visible at back and sides; raffia attachment on top of head frayed and missing.
Artist Unknown, African, Sala Mpasu Peoples Democratic Republic of the Congo
In pre-colonial Sala Mpasu society authority was vested in members of the Matambu warriors’ society who could secure the rights to wear an array of important masks. The kasangu mask was made of wood and represented a warrior. Covered in kaolin, a fine white clay, it is distinguished by its open rectangular mouth and pointed teeth—a Sala Mpasu mark of beauty.
Museum Purchase assisted by the Friends of the Museum of Art
Tuesday, April 20, 2021