African art > Mask > Masque Makonde

Makonde Lipoko helmet mask (N° 12614)

Ex-collection Belgian tribal art.
The shapes and proportions of this Makonde African helmet mask representing an ancestral spirit reflect a desire for realism. The ancestors would return masked to mark their satisfaction following the initiation. Some masks have wax tattoos or scarifications incised in the wood. The implantation of human hair, as in Tiv, helps to reinforce the realistic character of the mask. The remarkable chiseling of the features makes this work particularly naturalistic. The raw wood has a light brown patina with warm reflections. Wood shortages and abrasions. Acquired by Mr. Guy Mercier, consultant for the Solvay group, who at the beginning of the 20th century began to assemble a vast collection of African tribal art. While radiating in West and Central Africa as part of his work, and collecting in-situ works, the majority of his collection is nevertheless derived from Curiosity cabinets which abounded in European capitals during the 1920s. It also comes from prestigious galleries (Paris, Brussels, London, New York). On the death of his grandfather in the early 1980s, Jean-Charles Mercier inherited this large collection of first art in its entirety.
The Makonde of northern Mozambique and southern Tanzania wore helmet masks called lipiko during the initiation ceremonies of the young men. The Makonde revere an ancestor, which explains the abundance of a naturalistic female statuary. In addition to the face masks worn during mapiko and ngoma ceremonies that educate young people about the demands of marriage and family life. The Makonde also produce body masks featuring the female bust. (Art and Life in Africa, C.D. Roy)  

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OriginEx. collection Mercier
EthnyMakonde
CountryMozambique
Material(s)wood, human hairs
Height24
Width21
Weight1.00 Kg
Estimated datingcirca 1930
Socle inclusOptional

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