Lot: 368

99th Auction

Male helmet mask "lipiko" (pl. "mapiko")

Mozambique, Makonde

Provenance Size Starting price / estimated price
Merton Simpson, New York, USA H: 8.7 inch This object is not available anymore.

wood, black paint residues, human hair, inventory no. "3285", base

The making and performance of the "mapiko" helmet masks play a significant role in the social and religious life of the Makonde. They were carved outside the villages in a secret place and kept hidden in a mask house. Women and non-initiates were strictly forbidden to enter the place in the bush where the donning of the mask costume took place.

"Mapiko" masks performed at initiation festivals that took place shortly after the boys and girls return to the village. According to Fenzl, the mask dancer could represent a deceased but also a living person.

The masks are characterised by a strikingly realistic style of representation.

Fenzl, Kristian, Makonde, Linz 1997, p. 41 ff.