suku helmet mask
country: democratic republic of congo
material: wood, pigment
size: 16" (40.6 cm) Tall x 12" (30.5 cm) wide
note: stand not included
A most unusual, colorful Suku helmet mask depicting a mammal surmounting of the human face, this genre of initiation masks is used to mark the transition of adolescent boys to adult life during initiation periods which may last a year or more. Upon the conclusion of mukanda--coming to manhood rites-, a different genre of masks known as kholuka, is worn to perform successful initiation ceremonies. These masks are surmounted by imageries that translate into visual form the lyrics of songs that accentuate gender differences. Figural depictions of humans and animals on the raffia-fringed helmet masks deride women while exalting male virility.