Ngaady A Mwaash (royal female mask)

Ngaady A Mwaash mask, Kuba culture
Ngaady A Mwaash mask. © Art & Life in Africa

Ngaady-A-Mwaash is a traditional mask made of wood and raffia cloth with a painted face decorated with cowrie shells and glass beads. This mask is of the Kuba culture, Central Africa. The mask designs are typical of Kuba art, portrays Ngaady A Mwaash, the wife of the first Kuba king who was a founding royal female ancestor Kuba dynasty. She stands for the role of women in Kuba society.

The black and white triangles represent hearthstones and domestic life. The lines beneath her eye represent tears which symbolizes the pain of death, as the mask appears at funeral celebrations.


Democratic Republic of the Congo (Kuba people)
Kuba culture, Central Africa
Ngaady-A-Mwaash mask
Wood, pigment, cowrie shells, raffia cloth, glass beads

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