Helmet Mask, wood and hair, full head tilted slightly upwards, fully scarified face and geometrically shaven head.

Mask, 1950s

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Wood, hairexpand_more

The Ethel Morrison Van Derlip Fundexpand_more  74.77

Before Mozambique won its independence from Portuguese colonialism in 1975, Makonde men and women significantly modified their bodies in the name of beauty, as shown on this mask. The modification began at puberty as an important step toward maturity and cultural belonging, enlivening the face and framing the features with tattoos, chipped teeth, and a shaved hairline. Men wore wooden masks like this one at public dance performances, accompanied by drummers and a chorus. The carved hair comb and barrette on the mask show that not all the facial decoration was permanent.

Details
Title
Mask
Role
Artist
Accession Number
74.77
Curator Approved

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Helmet Mask, wood and hair, full head tilted slightly upwards, fully scarified face and geometrically shaven head.