This mask is known as Ngaady a mwaash and was used during initiation rites and other festivals of the Kuba people where a ritual play is enacted. In this dramatization of the legendary history of the people, initiates receive instructions on problems which may confront them in their adult life.
Along with 2 other masks, known as the Mwash a Mboy and the Bwoom, Ngaady is the female of the divinely born founders of the Kuba culture, the children of Woot, the creator god. She represents the sister and wife of Mwash a Mboy.
The markings on the face are evocative of the patterns on the textiles of the Kuba tribe.