Lot: 29098th Auction
Female mask "La belle Madeleine"
D. R. Congo, Luba / Zela
|Provenance||Size||Starting price / estimated price|
|Hilde & Lavuun Quackelbeen, Sint-Martens-Latem, Belgium||H: 14.6 inch||
plus 23 % commission, VAT, transport and insurance
wood, kaolin, red and black paint,
According to Felix, these masks are called "La belle Madeleine" by the locals and are supposed to embody a Catholic nun or else "Mama Maria", the Virgin Mary herself. Like the female ancestor spirit masks, "La belle Madeleine" is an idealised representation of a woman.
The arrival of Christian missionaries and nuns proves that this exotic-looking mask form could only have been developed in the last quarter of the 19th century. It is possible that these new icons of women replaced older images of idealised women.