African art > African statues : tribal fetish, maternity > Makonde mask
The Makonde , a matrilineal Bantu population of northern Mozambique and southern Tanzania, wore mask-casks called lipiko , mapiko , during initiation ceremonies for young men. The Makonde worship an ancestor , which explains the abundance of relatively naturalistic female statuary. In addition to facial masks, midimu , the Makonde also produce body masks featuring the female bust, exalting fertility, which were worn by men.
A fine example coated with a satin red patina, locally encrusted with light dark granular particles.
Makonde carvings refer to an ancestor in connection with creation, the first Makonde man having carved a female image who became the mother of his children, revered ever since.