The Ngaady-a-Mwash is one of a triad of masks that are danced to symbolize mythical characters and culture heroes important to the origins of Kuba kingship. Ngaady-a-Mwash is the sister and wife of the Kuba's legendary original king. The interplay between masked dancers who portray Ngaady-a-Mwash and two of her mythical suitors teaches the people the balance of power between the king and his subjects. These masks are worn during dances for initiation rites, funeral ceremonies, and royal gatherings.
Artist Kuba, African
  • Nagaady-A-Mwaash Mask
Date 20th century
Medium Wood, cowry shell, glass beads
Dimensions Overall: 15 × 10 × 10 inches (38.1 × 25.4 × 25.4 cm)
Including base: 22 × 10 × 10 inches (55.9 × 25.4 × 25.4 cm)
Credit Line Founders Society Purchase, Mr. and Mrs. Allan Shelden III Fund, funds from the Friends of African Art and the Pierians, Inc.
Accession Number 1992.215
Department Africa, Oceania & Indigenous Americas
On View African: Masquerades, Level 1 (see map)
(Tambaran Gallery, New York, New York, USA);
1992-present, purchase by the Detroit Institute of Arts (Detroit, Michigan, USA)
African Masterworks In The Detroit Institute of Arts. Washington and London: The Detroit Institute of Arts and Smithsonian Institution Press, 1995, cat. no. 73.