black with multi-colored bands of piecework and embroidery; yellow and brown patterned fabric at shoulders; maroon colored fabric under arms and between legs; burlap lining

Dance Costume, 20th century

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In most examples of masked performance in Africa, the dancer wears some sort of body covering in addition to the mask. Museums often display the masks alone, but here we have the opposite: a costume lacking the wooden mask that would have accompanied it. During the Nigerian Igbo festival called “Fame of the Maidens,” male dancers embody the ideals of youthful feminine beauty through their masks, costumes, and movements. The appliqué designs in vivid colors refer to female body ornamentation, traditionally a combination of scarification and body paint. This costume, created for a small person, was originally made in two parts and later joined.

Details
Title
Dance Costume
Role
Artist
Accession Number
96.74
Curator Approved

This record has been reviewed by our curatorial staff but may be incomplete. These records are frequently revised and enhanced. If you notice a mistake or have additional information about this object, please email collectionsdata@artsmia.org.

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black with multi-colored bands of piecework and embroidery; yellow and brown patterned fabric at shoulders; maroon colored fabric under arms and between legs; burlap lining