This splendid illustrated exploration of masks and masking ceremonies from the Democratic Republic of the Congo presents more than 130 outstanding wooden masks dating from the 18th to the 20th century. Visually stunning and spiritually charged, these objects connected wearers with their ancestors and were part of elaborate costumes used in ritual performances. Including some of the finest works of African art in private hands, this volume features masks from eleven distinct stylistic zones: Ukongo, Ukwango, Ukete, Ukuba, Urunda, Uruwa, Utanganyika, Umaniema, Uituri, Ubangi, and Umongo. Displaying an enormous diversity of materials, design, and craftsmanship, these masks reflect the wide range of natural resources available throughout the Congo region and illuminate the unique belief systems of local populations. Accessible and informative essays provide insight into these extraordinary objects and are enlivened by both new photography and archival images showing the ceremonial use of masks in early 20th-century Congo.
About the Author
Marc Leo Felix is director of the Congo Basin Art History Research Center in Brussels.