Congo Masks

Masterpieces from Central Africa

Edited by Marc Leo Felix; With contributions by Viviane Baeke, David A. Binkley, Arthur P. Bourgeois, H. Kellim Brown, Rik Ceyssens, Marc Leo Felix, Pol Pierre Gossiaux, Manuel Jordán, Constantine (Costa) Petridis, Zoë S. Strother, and Julien Volper

View Inside Price: $45.00

January 8, 2019
392 pages, 9 x 11 5/8
1,041 color + 141 b/w illus.
ISBN: 9780300238754
PB-with Flaps

Distributed for the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts

This splendid illustrated exploration of masks and masking ceremonies from the Democratic Republic of the Congo presents more than 130 outstanding wooden masks dating from the 18th to the 20th century. Visually stunning and spiritually charged, these objects connected wearers with their ancestors and were part of elaborate costumes used in ritual performances. Including some of the finest works of African art in private hands, this volume features masks from eleven distinct stylistic zones: Ukongo, Ukwango, Ukete, Ukuba, Urunda, Uruwa, Utanganyika, Umaniema, Uituri, Ubangi, and Umongo. Displaying an enormous diversity of materials, design, and craftsmanship, these masks reflect the wide range of natural resources available throughout the Congo region and illuminate the unique belief systems of local populations. Accessible and informative essays provide insight into these extraordinary objects and are enlivened by both new photography and archival images showing the ceremonial use of masks in early 20th-century Congo.

Marc Leo Felix is director of the Congo Basin Art History Research Center in Brussels.


Virginia Museum of Fine Arts