Mozambique/Tanzania, of dense hardwood, covered with red pigment, the facial hair indicated by animal hide. height 9 1/2in
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.116
Bill Fagg, has written the following about this mask: This mask is clearly from the Makonde complex of tribes of Tanzania and Mozambique (more probably the latter) and was probably made between the two world wars. Its unusual features (straight nose, rather naturalistic ears, disposition of hair, absence of scarification, etc.) are probably due to its having been intended as a caricature of an Arab, perhaps a slaver. This may also explain the representation of the hair by pieces of monkey fur, instead of the insertion of tufts of human hair with a knife; however monkey fur is used at least on one old mask which clearly represents a Makonde (see Holy, Masks and figures from Eastern and Southern Africa, 1967, plate 71). Such representations of Arabs are very rare.