Skip Navigation

Mask

Arts of Africa

The Ngbandi are a relatively small group, numbering less than a quarter million, and their masks are exceedingly rare, though the Ngbandi are prolific sculptors of figures, pipes, and musical instruments. Ngbandi communities are organized into clans led by elders with the aid of the warrior society, the Lombe, which plays an important role in implementing social control on behalf of the elders. Ngbandi masks such as this are thinly documented, though a related mask was found to have been used by Lombe diviners.

William Villalongo has included this particular mask in his collage Re: History—Muses (Artifact 3) nearby.
CULTURE Ngbandi
MEDIUM Wood, pigment
  • Place Made: Ubangi River region
  • DATES 19th century
    DIMENSIONS 10 1/2 x 6 5/8 x 2 3/4 in. (26.7 x 16.8 x 7 cm) mount (display dimensions): 10 1/2 x 7 x 3 in. (26.7 x 17.8 x 7.6 cm)  (show scale)
    COLLECTIONS Arts of Africa
    MUSEUM LOCATION This item is not on view
    ACCESSION NUMBER 22.226
    CREDIT LINE Museum Expedition 1922, Robert B. Woodward Memorial Fund
    RIGHTS STATEMENT Creative Commons-BY
    You may download and use Brooklyn Museum images of this three-dimensional work in accordance with a Creative Commons license. Fair use, as understood under the United States Copyright Act, may also apply. Please include caption information from this page and credit the Brooklyn Museum. If you need a high resolution file, please contact reproductions@brooklynmuseum.org (charges apply). For further information about copyright, we recommend resources at the United States Library of Congress, Cornell University, Copyright and Cultural Institutions: Guidelines for U.S. Libraries, Archives, and Museums, and Copyright Watch. For more information about the Museum's rights project, including how rights types are assigned, please see our blog posts on copyright. If you have any information regarding this work and rights to it, please contact copyright@brooklynmuseum.org.
    CAPTION Ngbandi. Mask, 19th century. Wood, pigment, 10 1/2 x 6 5/8 x 2 3/4 in. (26.7 x 16.8 x 7 cm). Brooklyn Museum, Museum Expedition 1922, Robert B. Woodward Memorial Fund, 22.226. Creative Commons-BY (Photo: Brooklyn Museum, 22.226_edited_version_SL1.jpg)
    IMAGE side, 22.226_edited_version_SL1.jpg. Brooklyn Museum photograph
    "CUR" at the beginning of an image file name means that the image was created by a curatorial staff member. These study images may be digital point-and-shoot photographs, when we don\'t yet have high-quality studio photography, or they may be scans of older negatives, slides, or photographic prints, providing historical documentation of the object.
    CATALOGUE DESCRIPTION Flat, ovoid-shaped, mask made from hard wood. Hairline rendered in relief. Row of horizontal cuts from hair line down to middle of face. Holes bored through upper lip and bottom of each ear. Three-line horizontal cuts from lower lip to chin. Line of vertical cuts on temples. Masklike eye sockets light in color. Teeth made of splints of wood inserted in lips. Condition is good.
    RECORD COMPLETENESS
    Not every record you will find here is complete. More information is available for some works than for others, and some entries have been updated more recently. Records are frequently reviewed and revised, and we welcome any additional information you might have.