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Pwoom Itok Mask

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unknown Kuba (Congolese)

Pwoom Itok Mask

19th century - 20th century
Carved, perforated, and inlaid wood and copper with patina

11 in. x 7 11/16 in. x 4 1/2 in. (28 cm x 19.5 cm x 11.5 cm)
Gift of Mace Neufeld and Helen Katz Neufeld, Class of 1953

Bryn Mawr College
Accession Number: 99.3.127
Other Number(s): 184 (243) (Neufeld Collection Number)
243 (Sotheby's Lot Number)
Geography: Africa, Democratic Republic of the Congo
Classification: Ceremonial and Performance Artifacts; Masks
Culture/Nationality: Bushoong, Kuba, Congolese, Central African, African
Collection: Neufeld Collection
This type of mask is called Pwoom Itok, and would originally have been attached to a headdress consisting of raffia cloth and feathers. It was probably also painted. Its chief characteristics are the cone-shaped eyes, surrounded by holes through which the wearer can see during ceremonies. Pwoom Itok masks are also characterized by protruding foreheads, large noses, and small mouths. Representing a wise old man whom other dancers come to consult, it was worn at funerals of dignitaries and in puberty rites.

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