Arts of Africa
Kuba mythology revolves around three figures, each represented by a masquerade character: Woot, the creator and founder of the ruling dynasty; Woot’s spouse; and Bwoom. Bwoom’s specific identity varies according to different versions of the myth. He may represent the king’s younger brother, a person of Twa descent, or a commoner. Embodying a subversive force within the royal court, the Bwoom masquerade is often performed in conflict with the masked figure representing Woot.
Wood, copper alloy, skin, fur, plant fiber, textile, glass beads, cowrie shell, seedpods, pigments
late 19th or early 20th century
13 3/4 x 8 1/4 x 12 in. (35 x 21 x 30.5 cm)
Height with beard: 22 7/16 in. (57 cm) (show scale)
Gift of Mr. and Mrs. John McDonald
Wooden mask of a bearded human face with cowrie shells and glass beads decorating the surface. Bands of dark blue beads an brow and nostrils. Wide band of white beads and cheeks and bridge of nose. Mixed turquoise and white beads down nose, around mouth and in geometric and chevron paterns on beard and around back of head. Black fur covered leather covers fabric at top of head and chevron pattern of white strips of leather. Undecorated strip of cloth around neckline of mask at back. Beard of white bead rings and enclosed brown seed pods. Cowrie shells and beads in hair of beard. Forehead is round and projecting. There are two rectangular appendages to the chin. CONDITION: Worn. There is a check through the left cheek. Beads and shells are missing throughout. There is a dark brown patina covering the facial area.
This item is not on view
Kuba (Bushoong subgroup). Bwoom Mask, late 19th or early 20th century. Wood, copper alloy, skin, fur, plant fiber, textile, glass beads, cowrie shell, seedpods, pigments, 13 3/4 x 8 1/4 x 12 in. (35 x 21 x 30.5 cm). Brooklyn Museum, Gift of Mr. and Mrs. John McDonald, 73.178. Creative Commons-BY (Photo: Brooklyn Museum, 73.178_SL1.jpg)
73.178_SL1.jpg. Brooklyn Museum photograph
"CUR" at the beginning of an image file name means that the image was created by a curatorial staff member. These study images may be digital point-and-shoot photographs, when we don\'t yet have high-quality studio photography, or they may be scans of older negatives, slides, or photographic prints, providing historical documentation of the object.
You may download and use Brooklyn Museum images of this three-dimensional work in accordance with a Creative Commons license
. Fair use, as understood under the United States Copyright Act, may also apply.
Please include caption information from this page and credit the Brooklyn Museum. If you need a high resolution file, please fill out our online application form
For further information about copyright, we recommend resources at the United States Library of Congress
, Cornell University
, Copyright and Cultural Institutions: Guidelines for U.S. Libraries, Archives, and Museums
, and Copyright Watch
For more information about the Museum's rights project, including how rights types are assigned, please see our blog posts on copyright
If you have any information regarding this work and rights to it, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
Not every record you will find here is complete. More information is available for some works than for others, and some entries have been updated more recently. Records are frequently reviewed and revised, and we welcome
any additional information you might have.