African art > African mask, tribal art, primitive art > Makonde Mask
Makonde Mask (N° 22152)
Besides the African face masks worn during mapiko dances and ngoma ceremonies that educate young people about the demands of marriage and life family, the Makonde also produce body masks depicting the female bust, such as this narrow example marked with scarifications in spikes, and surrounded by a thin fiber braid.
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Height on base: 51 cm.
Grayish brown grainy patina. Lack, cracks and discreet erosions.
Young Makonde boys and girls must submit to a period of seclusion of about six months, during which they are taught songs, dances and practical activities. The rules of behavior in adulthood, sexual life and the obligations of marriage are discussed. This initiation ended with festive ceremonies featuring male midimu (sing. ndimu) dancers. The latter, wearing a female mask paired with a costume whose ensemble is called amwalindembo, mimicked the suffering accompanying childbirth.
Satin patina, small abrasions.
Source: "Africa, the Art of a continent" ed. Prestel