Bakongo Nail Fetish Face Mask 14.5″ – DR Congo – African Art

$225.00 $157.50

1 in stock

SKU: 1002306 Categories: , , ,
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This mask was hand-carved in the style of a nail fetish mask by the Bakongo people of DRC. The mask has multiple nails pounded into the top of the head and has been decorated with cowrie shells and braided vegetable fiber. It measures 14.5 inches tall and weighs 3 pounds. There is minor cracking, scuffing and wear and tear – inspect photos. Stand not included but one can be added for an additional charge.

Type of Object

Face Mask

Country of Origin

DR Congo


Bakongo (Kongo)


Wood, pigment, fabric, vegetable fiber, nails and cowrie shells

Approximate Age









3 lbs

Overall Condition

Some cracking, scuffing and wear and tear throughout. See photos.

Tribe Information

Tribe Information

About the Bakongo People

Bakongo people are a matriarchal society who values their independence. They are the largest tribe in the Democratic Republic of Congo and have considerable populations in neighboring countries as well. The total population of the tribe was last estimated to be around 18 million world wide.

With such a vast population of people, their belief system is almost as so. For the most part, the majority of Bakongo people believe in a creator god and deities. When the Portuguese inserted themselves in the area in the 15the century, they used that belief system to convince the Bakongo that Christianity was the same thing. Missionaries would twist Bakongo language to push Christianity among the people, they would take words such as “nkisi” to mean “holy” as they were teaching their religion. Today, a mixture of traditional religion and Christianity is practiced. Both churches and shrines have been maintained.
Read more about the Bakongo here.