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.
- Helmet Mask (Lipiko)
- Mozambique (Object made in), Africa (Object made in)
- Wood, human hair, and pigment
- Diteka (left side of head)
- H. 26 cm (10 1/4 in.)
- Through prior bequest of Florene May Schoenborn