Skip to main content
Go to accessibility notice

    Description

    KUBA, Democratic Republic of Congo
    Mask

    Wood, pigments, fiber, fiber cloth, shells

    The matrilineal Kuba people are actually composed of a collection of many small ethnic groups united under a divine king who is always selected from the Bushoong people. Representatives from each of the component ethnic groups attend the royal court. In addition to their basic farming, most of which is done by the women, while men hunt and fish, Kuba men have engaged in active trading with neighboring peoples, which has made them wealthy and powerful.

    According to tradition, the first Kuba mask was invented by a woman when she carved a face on a calabash, but the idea was quickly taken over by men, who incorporated masks into initiation rites, funerals and public ceremonies and entertainments as a male prerogative. There are over twenty types of masks, including three royal types representing the founding Bushoong hero, his wife and his younger brother, who has come to be a symbol for the common man.

    The present mask, "pwoom itok," is one of the principal dance masks appearing at male initiations and funerals. The mask represents a wise male elder to whom the other masked dancers come for advice. The most striking feature of the "pwoom itok" mask is the treatment of the eyes, which are projecting conical forms ringed by small holes around their depressed bases so that the mask wearer can see. Like most Kuba masks, the "pwoom itok" is brightly painted with geometric designs conforming to the basic facial features and emphasizing areas of black and white triangles. A woven fiber cap and hood decorated with cowrie shells is attached to the mask and fits over the dancer's head to disguise him from his audience.

    Provenance:
    The Robert V. Berg Collection

    Read more about the Robert V. Berg Collection here.



    Ex-collection:
    Peter Loebarth, Germany

    Height: 11 ¾ inches


    Condition Report*: Condition report available upon request.
    *Heritage Auctions strives to provide as much information as possible but encourages in-person inspection by bidders. Statements regarding the condition of objects are only for general guidance and should not be relied upon as complete statements of fact, and do not constitute a representation, warranty or assumption of liability by Heritage. Some condition issues may not be noted in the condition report but are apparent in the provided photos which are considered part of the condition report. Please note that we do not de-frame lots estimated at $1,000 or less and may not be able to provide additional details for lots valued under $500. All lots are sold "AS IS" under the Terms & Conditions of Auction.

    Shipping, Taxes, Terms and Bidding
    This item cannot be shipped using standard methods. Please contact us for more information.

    Sales Tax information  |  Terms and Conditions

    Bidding Guidelines and Bid Increments

    Glossary of Terms

    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    July, 2016
    8th Friday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 1
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
    Page Views: 419

    Buyer's Premium per Lot:
    25% on the first $200,000 (minimum $19), plus 20% of any amount between $200,000 and $2,000,000, plus 12% of any amount over $2,000,000 per lot.

    Sold for: Sign-in or Join (free & quick)

    Heritage membership

    Join Now - It's Free

    VIEW BENEFITS
    1. Past Auction Values (prices, photos, full descriptions, etc.)
    2. Bid online
    3. Free Collector newsletter
    4. Want List with instant e-mail notifications
    5. Reduced auction commissions when you resell your
      winnings 
    Consign now
    • Cash Advances
    • More Bidders
    • Trusted Experts
    • Over 200,000 Satisfied Consignors Since 1976
    Consign to the 2019 May 3 American Art Auction - Dallas.

    Learn about consigning with us

    It would indeed have been much simpler to work with a local auction house, and we had local options. But we never once regretted going with Heritage.
    Virgene S.,
    Milwaukee, WI
    View More Testimonials

    HA.com receives more traffic than any other auction house website. (Source: Similarweb.com)

    Video tutorial

    Getting the most out of search

    Recent auctions

    2014 November 21 Tiffany, Lalique & Art Glass Signature Auction
    2014 November 21 Tiffany, Lalique & Art Glass Signature Auction
    REALIZED $1,441,296
    2014 November 17 American Art Signature Auction
    2014 November 17 American Art Signature Auction
    REALIZED $6,712,638
    2014 November 14 American Indian Art , Pre-Columbian, & Tribal Art Signature Auction
    2014 Nov 14 American Indian Art, Pre-Columbian & Tribal Art Auction
    REALIZED $441,524
    2014 November 8 Modern & Contemporary Art Signature Auction
    2014 November 8 Modern & Contemporary Art Signature Auction
    REALIZED $5,683,719
    2014 November 6 Silver & Vertu Signature Auction
    2014 November 6 Silver & Vertu Signature Auction
    REALIZED $439,980
    2014 October 18 The Belo Collection of Texas Art Signature Auction
    2014 October 18 The Belo Collection of Texas Art Signature Auction
    REALIZED $624,835
    2014 October 16 Photographs Signature Auction
    2014 October 16 Photographs Signature Auction
    REALIZED $824,108
    2014 September 28 Nature & Science Signature Auction
    2014 September 28 Nature & Science Signature Auction
    REALIZED $1,089,341
    2014 Sept 13-14 Gentleman Collector Signature Estate Auction
    2014 Sept 13-14 Gentleman Collector Signature Estate Auction
    REALIZED $1,725,292
    2018 October 12 Illustration Art - Dallas
    2018 October 12 Illustration Art - Dallas
    REALIZED $1,745,893