This page is a record of an exhibit that took place
in 2005. The individual links below will take you to
the CURRENT VERSION of the pages
that formed part of that exhibit.
Please scroll down for links to images, sizes, prices and more information on each object featured in the current exhibit.
For those of you who cannot visit the gallery, we present some views of the current exhibition.
Along with their neighbors, the Yombe, the Bakongo people had white-faced masks that were associated with the spirit world. They were less common than their better known fetish or power figures, but some share the glass eyes, magic cavities and inserted nails of those figures.
Male Makonde dancers, taking the role of a woman in a ceremonial ritual would, in addition to a helmet mask, wear a female body mask. Carved thin, painted, tied onto the torso and combined with a mimicry of female movements the bodymasks created an effective illusion.
The gameboards range from everyday objects with monumental, simple forms to ornate pieces bringing status to the owner. They all show the creativity and power Africans put into functional objects.
These headdresses, or horizontal helmet masks, are abstract representations of the bushcow and emphasize aggressive power. They are worn with a thick costume of fiber.
The Salampasu have three mask types, representing grades of male society, hunters, warriors and chiefs. Worn during initiation and other rituals, most of them share a bulging forehead, deeply set eyes and pointed, or filed, teeth. Most of these, whether covered with thin copper sheeting or nor, are the warrior's mask style.
Little is known of these strange Sukuma figures. A northern Nyamwezi people. Features are undistinguished, gender is often undefined. Some figures relate to grave markers, most are part of a chief's treasury. Nyamwezi figures are often similar but usually with inset beaded eyes.
Like the Makonde, male Yoruba dancers, taking the role of a woman in a ceremonial ritual would sometimes, in addition to a mask or headdress, wear a female body mask. Carved thin, painted, tied onto the torso and combined with a mimicry of female movements the bodymasks created an effective illusion.