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Lot 99H: DR Congo Carved Wood Face Mask - Possibly Zande
27 October 2016
Louisville, CO, USALive Auction
Africa, Eastern Democratic Republic of Congo or Sudan, possibly Zande/Azande, ca. early 20th century CE. A finely carved face mask depicting an expressive visage with half-closed eyes, a high forehead adorned with incised geometrics perhaps representing a crowning hairline, generous concave eyebeds, a long, straight nose, a protruding open mouth showing teeth, and a petite chin - with white pigment remaining and perforations along the perimeter. This piece shows features commonly depicted on Zande masks including a rounded and flattened face and the open mouth showing teeth. Zande masks are incredibly rare, and assuming this mask is a Zande mask it would have been used by the Mani society during funeral ceremonies. The secret Mani society has traditionally celebrated the significance of women. They create highly ornamented female statuettes called yanda to protect members from illness, evil spirits, and any danger. Masks like this example, however, are exceedingly rare! Size: 2.75" x 5.25" W x 9" H (7 cm x 13.3 cm x 22.9 cm)
Provenance: Ex- Adeon Gallery, Nick Poolos, Chicago, IL acquired before 1970.
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Condition Report: Expected surface wear and pigment loss.