mask (dance & live theatre)

Pende Mbengu mask with a feather headdress. The masquerader represents a figure who has been bewitched and bears a number of disabilities as a result. The mask is split down the middle, with the black half representative of the dancer having fallen into a fire as a result of an epileptic fit, and the slanted mouth has been associated with paralysis. The dancer is often depicted with a hunched back pierced by an arrow.

Collection Information

These objects are only a part of our collections, of which there are more than 350,000 objects. This information comes from our collections database. Some of this is incomplete and there may be errors. This part of the website is also still under construction, so there may be some fields repeated or incorrectly formatted information.

The database sometimes uses language taken from historical documents to help research, which may now appear outdated and even offensive. The database also includes information on objects that are considered secret or sacred by some communities.

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