Lot: 257

Early and rare helmet mask "nnup" or "inuba", before 1910

D. R. Congo, Kuba Kingdom, Southern Kuba

Provenance Size Starting price / estimated price
Family Collection Linde, Ditzingen, Germany H: 18.1 inch 4500 EUR / 9000 EUR

wood, pigments, Present mask represents a very early example of this mask type. A comparable object collected by Leo Frobenius in 1906 was once in the Museum für Völkerkunde Hamburg (Zwernemann 1985, ill. 164). Another object that was purchased by Umlauff in Hamburg before 1910 can be found in the Museum der Weltkulturen, Frankfurt am Main (Sibeth, 2009, p. 134 f.). These masks were used during the initiation ceremonies of the boys as well as in funeral rites. In connection with initiation, they represent nature spirits "ngesh" and are part of the boys' instruction aimed at transmitting and acquiring secret knowledge. Without the corresponding mask costume, the cult objects supplementing the mask appearance and the associated songs, the original purpose can no longer be determined.


Zwernemann, Jürgen & Wulf Lohse, Aus Afrika, Ahnen, Geister, Götter, Hamburg 1985, p. 164, ill. 164 Sibeth, Achim (Hg.), Being object, being art, Frankfurt am Main, Berlin 2009, p. 134 f. (Ross Archive of African Images, No. 1465) Felix, Marc L. (ed), Mas