The Arts of Africa, Oceania, and the Americas
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Africa
Hemba peoples, Makutano locality, Kongolo zone, Democratic Republic of the Congo
Mask, So'o or Soko Mutu
Wood
H. 6 3/4 in. (17.1 cm)
Raymond and Laura Wielgus Collection
Indiana University Art Museum, 87.24.4


This Hemba mask, whose name means “chimpanzee-human,” appears at funerals and may also serve protective functions. The reference to the chimpanzee is not a positive one, for Hemba do not admire that animal, but rather regard it as one that can be aggressive and predatory toward people. The mask is worn on the head so that the masquerader looks out of the mouth.