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Helmet Mask (Lipiko)

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

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

Date:

Early to mid-20th century

Artist:

Attributed to 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.

Status

Currently Off View

Department

Arts of Africa

Culture

Makonde

Artist

Diteka

Title

Helmet Mask (Lipiko)

Places

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

Date

1900-1950

Medium

Wood, pigment, and human hair

Inscriptions

Diteka (left side of head)

Dimensions

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

Credit Line

The Art Institute of Chicago, 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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