Large dance masks like this one were used by the Luba Kasai, an isolated group of Luba speakers who migrated west of the Luba homeland in the 18th century. Although there was little use of masks in the center of the Luba empire, people in remote areas borrowed and adapted the masquerades of their neighbors. On this example the patterns on the hair and beard represent elaborate braiding, and the teeth are decoratively filed. This is one of only two examples of this type of helmet mask in museum collections.


  • Title: Helmet mask
  • Creator: Unknown
  • Date Created: 19th century
  • origin: Democratic Republic of Congo
  • Physical Dimensions: w15.5 x h19.5 x d17 in
  • Measurements: 19 1/2 x 15 1/2 x 17 in. (49.5 x 39.4 x 43.2 cm)
  • Type: Mask
  • Rights: Gift of Stephen, Peter, and Michael Pflaum in memory of their grandfather Arther G. Cohen, http://www.artsmia.org/index.php?section_id=7
  • External Link: Minneapolis Institute of Arts (Minneapolis, MN, USA)
  • Medium: Wood, pigments

Get the app

Explore museums and play with Art Transfer, Pocket Galleries, Art Selfie, and more


Google apps