Tribal art > African mask > Makonde mask
Makonde mask (N° 21100)
Embodying the spirit of an ancestor, this African mask cephalomorph of the Makonde adopts realistic features of great expressiveness. The ancestors would return masked to mark their satisfaction following initiation. Some of these masks have wax tattoos or scarifications incised into the wood. On some of these masks, such as this one, the implantation of human hair, as with the Tiv, contributed to reinforcing the realistic character.
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Satin patina, locally abraded, small accidents.
The Makonde of northern Mozambique and southern Tanzania wore helmet-masks called lipiko during initiation ceremonies for young men. The Makonde worship an ancestor , which explains the abundance of naturalistic female statuary, in addition to the facial masks worn during mapiko dances and ngoma ceremonies that instruct youth about the requirements of marriage and family life. The true identity of the mask wearer is revealed only to the initiates following a grueling exercise in which they must confront and unveil the mask. The Makonde also produce body masks featuring the female bust.