Origin: Mozambique, Makonde ethnic group

Dated: 1990s

Description:

The woodcarving works of the Makonde people (Mozambique) are characterized by a high artistic level, the most characteristic are the mapiko masks (lipiko l.p.). It is worn on the head like a helmet. It is always worn with material tied around the bottom edge that falls loosely over the dancer's shoulders, forming part of an elaborate costume designed to completely conceal his identity. The mask is usually carved in a realistic style and its realism is often emphasized by the inclusion of human hair. Many older masks depict a Makonde woman with a mouth plug and adorned with the typical convex tattoos applied with beeswax. Carved with the face facing up, often blindfolded, and the ears placed low, approximately at the level of the mouth.

Dancing in mapiko masks was and still is an important element that unites people. It presents the history of the people, the country, was even treated as a tool in the fight against colonialism.


The purchase of the masks collection was subsidized by the National Institute for Museums and Public Collections.

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