Lot 109
  • 109

Salampasu Mask, Democratic Republic of the Congo

20,000 - 30,000 USD
bidding is closed


  • fiber, wood
  • Height: 15 in (71 cm)


James Willis, San Francisco
Allan Stone, New York, acquired from the above in 1984

Catalogue Note

The Salampasu inhabit the region between the Kasai and Lulua rivers in present-day Kasai Province of the Democratic Republic of the Congo near the Angola border.  Neyt (1981: 212) notes: "[...] the Salampasu are most famous for their remarkable wood and raphia masks."  Barbier (1998: 274, text to cat. 218) continues: "Such masks [...] are worn in the initiation rites of men's associations.  [...]  Salampasu masquerades were held in wooden enclosures decorated with anthropomorphic figures carved in relief."
For an archival photograph of a related mask being worn in a Mfuku dance, see Neyt (ibid.: 217, fig. XI. 6).  For a closely related mask in the Ethnologisches Museum, Staatliche Museen zu Berlin - Preussischer Kulturbesitz, published in conjunction with the exhibition Primitivism in 20th Century Art at the Museum of Modern Art, New York, see Rubin (1984: 171).