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Image of Bwoom Helmet Mask

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unknown Kuba (Congolese)

Bwoom Helmet Mask

Late 19th century - Mid 20th century
Wood, glass and stone beads, seeds, sheet metal, raffia, cloth, and leather

21.5 in. x 10.5 in. x 12 in. (54.61 cm x 26.67 cm x 30.48 cm)
Gift of Mace Neufeld and Helen Katz Neufeld, Class of 1953

Bryn Mawr College
Accession Number: 99.3.124
Other Number(s): 105 (237) (Neufeld Collection Number)
237 (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
Bwoom, the figure represented by this helmet mask, is part of the royal founding family of the Kuba people of the Western Congo Basin. In Nsheng, the Kuba capital, Bwoom is seen as ranking second to Mwashamboy, his brother and the founder of the Kuba kingdom. The forehead of this wooden mask is made of sheet copper, a metal associated with the ruling class in some Central African cultures. The eyes have no openings, so the wearer of the mask has to look through the holes in the nostrils during performance. The dancers of the Bwoom mask are usually covered completely and their costumes are noticeably less decorative than that of the Mwashamboy masqueraders.

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Additional Image 99.3.124_BMC_f_3.jpg
Additional Image 99.3.124_BMC_f.jpg
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Additional Image 99.3.124_BMC_pr_2.jpg

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<ref name=BMC>cite web |url= |title=Bwoom Helmet Mask |author=Bryn Mawr College Library Special Collections |accessdate=1/16/2022 |publisher=Bryn Mawr College</ref>

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