mid- to late 1800s
Wood and paint
Overall: 43.3 x 31.2 x 28.3 cm (17 1/16 x 12 5/16 x 11 1/8 in.)
James Albert Ford Memorial Fund 1935.304
Imagine this mask topped with eagle feathers; they would have been added only on special occasions when it was performed.
Among the Bushoong, the central Kuba group, the mask known as bwoom—most typically identified as the head of a hunter-gatherer—forms a triad with a female mask and another male mask. All three are protagonists in the reenactment of the foundation of the Kuba kingdom. Outside the capital, however, bwoom appears in different non-royal contexts, such as the men’s initiation society.
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