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Helmet Mask (Lipiko)

A work made of wood, human hair, and pigment.

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  • A work made of wood, human hair, and pigment.

Date:

Possibly early/mid–20th century

Artist:

Diteka (active early to mid-20th century)
Makonde
Mozambique
Eastern and Southern Africa

About this artwork

Incarnating ancestral spirits, Makonde helmet masks appear in dances that celebrate the conclusion of initiation rituals for adolescent boys and girls. In this dark-brown male example, real human hair has been applied to the skull in irregular patterns that imitate a once-fashionable hairstyle. Other lifelike characteristics include angular scarification marks and chipped teeth. The artist’s proper name—Diteka—is inscribed in Swahili on the mask’s cheek.

On View

Arts of Africa, Gallery 137

Culture

Makonde

Artist

Diteka

Title

Helmet Mask (Lipiko)

Places

Mozambique (Object made in), Africa (Object made in)

Date

1900-1950

Medium

Wood, human hair, and pigment

Inscriptions

Diteka (left side of head)

Dimensions

H. 26 cm (10 1/4 in.)

Credit Line

Through prior bequest of Florene May Schoenborn

Reference Number

2017.106

Extended information about this artwork

Object information is a work in progress and may be updated as new research findings emerge. To help improve this record, please email . Information about image downloads and licensing is available here.

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