Agnes is on retreat! Agnes’s galleries are closed until June 2023,  keep your eye on our website for upcoming public programs. Read more.

00:00
/
00:00
Unknown maker
Tshimwana Mask
20th century

Biombo masks are difficult to identify with certainty because of their stylistic affinities with the traditions of the nearby Kuba peoples. Both cultures create forms that have coffee-bean shaped eyes, bulbous foreheads, and geometric motifs decorating the forehead, cheeks and chin. In this tshimwana mask, a checkerboard-like pattern is augmented with brown and white pigment, while red, typical of Biombo masks, adorns other areas. The carving creates a play of light and shadow, as seen in the curved shapes of the eyebrows and eyelids.Often thought to depict females, tshimwana masks are likely performed during the course of men’s initiation rites. Holes are pierced in each mask to attach additional components of the dancer’s costume. In the Lang mask, holes are evident along its lower edge and in three pierced projections located at the crown of the mask. This mask was donated to the Art Centre from the collection of Jacqueline Fry (1923-1991), a noted French specialist in African art and friend of the Langs.

 
Unknown maker
Biombo peoples
Tshimwana Mask
20th century
wood coated with red wood powder, kaolin; painted burlap on a framework of strips of vegetable matter
33.0 x 20.0 x 24.0 cm
Gift of Philip Fry, in memory of Jacqueline Fry, 2007
M07-001.01

Subscribe to our “This Week at Agnes” e-newsletter to stay abreast of events, news and opportunities at the art museum.