Lavish illustrations feature both iconic and never-before-published Pende masterworks, selected to evoke the full range of Pende expression. Although many societies in the Congo were once renowned for their vibrant masquerades and architectural sculpture, these phenomena have only been studied as living traditions among a handful of peoples, most notably the Pende. Building on the extended fieldwork of numerous researchers since the 1950s, this text offers a unique window into the dynamic contexts for the arts in Central Africa. The volume privileges Pende voices as it seeks to understand the interrelationship between ritual practice and aesthetic form. Attentive to history, the author also records how these artistic practices have responded, sometimes unpredictably, to both colonial and post-colonial pressures.