Democratic Republic of the Congo
Early 20th century
Carved wood and pigments
Height: 31 cm – 12 ¼ in.
Ex Sotheby’s London, 28 Nov. 1983, lot 45
Thence in a private collection, Palm Springs, California
Meant for use in initiation rites for young men in Ngongo society, these masks – where the bridge of the nose is reminiscent of the beak of some birds – were also used in hunting rituals to appease the spirits.
From the time that they were first "discovered" in the Western World in the 1930s, Lwalwa masks were admired and sought after by collectors and artists.