Inhabiting the southeast of Tanzania and the northeast of Mozambique are about 500,000 Makonde, divided into matrilineal clans, each one comprising several villages. One of the most important events in the life of a Makonde was initiation. During this intensive months-long ritual, girls and boys were provided with knowledge and skills essential to the Makonde way of life. Carvings sometimes functioned as teaching tools in the context. Male masks have beards, female ones lip-plugs and – a travesty of the male dancer – body masks in which two breasts are depicted in the middle of the wax tattoos. The body masks celebrate the return of young men to the village after they have been initiated into adult life.
Exhibited at the "Fertile, Frightful, Divine"show. New Brunswick, NJ. July 2011
Ask about a stand for this mask