© Tim Hamill
BEMBE, MASK NO. 27 , 16.5", $800, SOLD, Dem. Rep. of Congo
Traditional masks and headdresses of the eastern Bembe people of the Dem. Rep. of Congo (formerly Zaire) are recognizable for their concave, cupped orbits around the bulging "coffee-bean" eyes, the masks take several hauntingly beautiful forms.
The second major type are the Kalunga helmet masks, more abstract in form, which represented bush spirits. They were kept in secrecy and brought out for public dances and ceremonies. To aid in their protective power, they had at least two faces and often four.
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