Elaborate Bakongo Helmet Mask 26.5″ – DR Congo – African Art



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This mask was hand-carved in the style of the Bakongo people of DRC. The piece features an elaborate mask with animal horns, corn cobb, nails, raffia and shells. It measures 26.5 inches tall and weighs 10.5 pounds. There is cracking, scuffing and wear and tear throughout – please inspect photos.

Type of Object

Helmet Mask

Country of Origin

DR Congo


Bakongo (Kongo)


Wood, pigment, vegetable fiber, shells, nails, animal horn and a corn cobb

Approximate Age










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.