Title:Helmet maskArtist:Unknown Date:19th centuryCreation Place:Africa, Democratic Republic of Congo, Central Africa regionCredit Line:Gift of Stephen, Peter, and Michael Pflaum in memory of their grandfather A...Accession Number:53.14
Acquired by gift, this large helmet mask is the first example of sub-Saharan African art to enter the MIA's permanent collection. It comes from the heart of the continent and was made by the Luba people. Carved from a single piece of light-weight wood and featuring black, white, and red coloration, it would have been worn over the head of a dancer. Unfortunately, we have no idea for what type of ceremony the mask was made.
Particularly interesting is the elaborate hairdo, which consists of three braids on either side of the face and a vertical braid in the back shaped in a loop. The transversal structure on top of the head represents a diadem made of beaded raffia, characteristic of Luba chieftainship.