African art > African mask, tribal art, primitive art > Makonde mask
Makonde mask (N° 20279)
Ex-collection African art from Belgium.
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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 African masks facial masks worn during mapiko dances and ngoma ceremonies that instruct youth about the requirements of marriage and family life, the Makonde also produce body masks featuring the female bust, such as this example.
Makonde boys and girls must undergo a period of seclusion of about six months, during which they are taught songs, dances and practical activities. The rules of adult behavior, sexual life, and the obligations of marriage are discussed. This initiation ended with festive ceremonies featuring male dancers midimu (sing. ndimu ). The latter, wearing a feminine mask matched with a costume, the whole of which is called amwalindembo, mimicked the suffering accompanying childbirth.
The motifs enhancing this body mask, feature traditional tattoos that were made with beeswax. Velvety matt patina, abrasions. Cracks.
Source : "Africa, the Art of a continent" ed. Prestel
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