Kuyu, People’s Republic of Congo

Puppet Head

20th century


Gift of Dwight and Blossom Strong


This puppet portrays a stylized human head and is crowned with a carved bird. It would have been mounted on the end of a wand. During the masquerades of the serpent clan, one of two totemic clans among the Kuyu, a long raffia costume would be attached to the wand. Holding the wand high above his head, the dancer was hidden by the costume.

Known as Kebe Kebe, Kuyu puppet heads are consistent in style with small, narrow eyes, a slightly open mouth revealing pointed teeth, and scarification patterns of incised lines and raised dots.

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