Ancient and Heavily Decorated Kuba Helmet Mask


Type of ObjectHelmet Mask and Stand
Country of OriginDRC
MaterialsWood, Copper Alloy, Cowrie Shells, Seed Pods, Beads
Approximate AgeBelieved to be first-half of 20th Century, but not proven.
Height (Inches)28”
Width (Inches)15”
Depth (Inches)18”
Weight (Pounds)15lbs
Overall ConditionReasonable condition with good age, but worn with some slight separation in fabric and beading– see photos.

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About the Kuba People

“During the 16th century, the Kuba migrated from the north and settled between the Sankuru and Kasai Rivers. Today, they number 250,000 and are subdivided into a number of tribes – the Bushoong, the Ngeende, the Kete, the Lele, the Binji, The Dengese, the Mbuun and the wongo. Each clan pays tribute to the Nyim, the king of the Bushoong ruling clan, but their internal affairs are dealt with autonomously. The Bushoong king and his court lived in a closed palace, known as the Mushenge. The king was responsible for the wealth and fecundity of his people.

Each clan within the Kuba kingdom produced artistic objects with specific characteristics, but there are common stylistic features, including predilection for incised geometric decoration. Cups, zoomorphic divination instruments and boxes were produced throughout the realm.”


Baquart, Jean-Baptiste. The Tribal Arts of Africa. New York: Thames and Hudson Inc. 1998. Print.

Dave Dahl—CEO Discover African Art



Keywords: Kuba, DRC, Democratic Republic of Congo, Kifwere, Mask

ID# 1000340