Kungan Master

Anthropomorphic mask, the forehead separated by a midline that merges into a resolute crest. Beautifully stylized ears and a majestic wig made of human hair, decorated with cowrie snails and some old glass beads. This mask was used in the fight against witchcraft.


Excellent overall condition, dark patina and excellent design.


  • EUR 16.000,-
  • Klaus Paysan, Stuttgart
  • Exhibited 2003/2004: Animals, Masks & Magic (staatliches Naturkundemuseum, Stuttgart, Germany), see pictures.
  • Listed in van Rijn Archive of Tribal Art: No 0155293
  • Bamileke, Kungan Society
  • Cameroon
  • 105 cm
  • Human hair, cowrie, plant fiber, brass, glass bead and  a golden St. Christopher's plaque.
  • Before 1950

Master of Kungan

Bamileke mask from "ku n'gan" society with human hair, cowries and golden plaque.

This mask had belonged to the King of Bana, Cameroon, for many years. But when the mask could not save the king, his name was "Fon Happi II Taffou", from the deadly sleeping sickness, he gave it to the German Photographer Klaus Paysan who had been able to do exactly that. Even though the mask lost its ritual power through this act, it has kept a special secret until today:  it belongs to a previously unknown trio of Ku n'gan masks of outstanding aesthetics and impact. It is the Lost Kungan Triplet. read full story

About this mask type

Unlike in the northern and eastern grasslands of Cameroon, the masks of the Bamileke region were often not worn onto of  the head but in front of the face. Masks of this type also have a pronounced expressive and aggressive expression. This results from the strong interplay of the individual characteristic features - the large ears, the almond-shaped eyes as well as the human hair wig and above all the resolute crest of the head, which is should be based on the bone crest of the male gorilla to transfer the power of the gorilla to the wearer of the mask. The shiny surface was created by a treatment with palm oil and soot after the mask was blackened over an open fire.