Mozambique/Tanzania, carved of light wood with fine incised scarification. The coiffure composed of human hair in an abstracted geometric pattern. height 8 3/4in
Provenance: Michael Wyman
Exhibited: Governors State University, IL, 2003 Krannert Art Museum, IL, 2003 Belger Art Foundation/University of Missouri-Kansas City, MO, 2004 Tall Grass Art Association, IL, 2005
Published: Bourgeois and Rodolitz, REMNANTS OF RITUAL: SELECTIONS FROM THE GELBARD COLLECTION OF AFRICAN ART, Ethnos, New York, 2003, p.55, fig.115
The Makonde of northern Mozambique and southern Tanzania wore helmet masks for initiation ceremonies called Lipiko for both boys and girls. The masks or 'head of the lipiko' (muti wa lipiko) is made of a light, balsa-like wood and worn with a cloth tied around the bottom rim that falls loosely over the masquerader. Naturalism of these masks is often accentuated by the addition of human hair. Older examples of male masks such as the Gelbard example are often simple and understated. Additionally, some older masks are decorated with applied beeswax to represent raised scarifications. More recent examples display a broader variety of characters.