Helmet Mask of Bundu Society [Object of the Day #37]

August 7, 2012

Helmet Mask
Helmet Mask

Pictured above is a 20th century African helmet mask of Bundu society. The mask is made of wood, tin, and a pigment giving the object it’s black coloring. On top of the figure’s headdress are three sagittal crests who’s edges are covered in tin strips. Tin strips are also found on the sides and across the forehead of the mask.

These Bundu masks are made for women, a trend seen rarely in African cultures. Women will wear these masks as they are guided into womanhood, learning the skills and rituals that will help them in adulthood.

Penn Museum Object #29-61-21

See this and other objects like it on Penn Museum’s Online Collection Database