Kuba Mask



This Mash Amboy (Woot) helmet mask represents the King. The Kuba believe that the king is a divine ruler who controls fertility and communicates with the creator, Mboom. Kuba arts primarily address status, prestige, and the court; they are a demonstration of social and political hierarchy. Rank and wealth are expressed in broad displays of regalia. The large horn on the masks head is representative of the elephant’s trunk. The Kora consider the elephant a supreme, royal animal.

The Kora have three royal masks which they appear in a variety of circumstances including public ceremonies, rites involving the king, and initiations where a group of boys will be inducted into manhood through the initiation which transforms uncircumcised boys into initiated men who possess mysterious knowledge. These masks are the Mash Amboy, representing Woot (the king); Ngady Mash Amboy, the wooden face mask representing the sister-wife of Woot; and the wooden helmet mask, Bwoom, a rebellious element at the royal court, brother of Woot. Together the three royal masks reenact Kuba myths of origin. Whilst the Bwoom mask dancer acts with pride and aggression a Mash Amboy dance is calm and noble. This type of masks was worn only by princes and dignitaries.

Wood , Cotton , Raffia cloth , Beads , Cowry shells

Height : 19″ (48.3cm) , Width : 13″ (33cm)