Bembe Helmet Mask

c. 1900
$8,680 USD
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W: 6.5" D: 9.5" H: 12.5"
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This 20th-century Bembe helmet mask would have been worn by an adolescent boy as he completed a prolonged initiation process designed to foster strength and courage. Made of painted, hand-carved wood, this haunting example depicts an otherworldly face with an oversized mouth and eyes that recall the features of an owl. Symbolizing a boy’s death as a child and rebirth as a man, the mask was worn in a ceremony that celebrated the initate's return to village life and marked this important transition into adulthood.

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