This page is a record of an exhibit that took place
in 1995. The individual links below will take you to
the CURRENT VERSION of the pages
that formed part of that exhibit.
"Makonde Helmet Masks" exhibits the traditional, powerful heads
of the Makonde from Tanzania in east Africa. Unusually realistic for tribal
art, they are notable for their strong, Negroid, portrait-like features,
real human hair applied in shaved patterns, raised or incised facial scarification,
open mouths with bared teeth, large ears and frequent lip-plugs. The masks
represent ancestral spirits and were used in initiation ceremonies, serving
as expressions of their moral code. We have collected over 30 masterfully
carved examples, all quite unique, plus two face masks and two figures to
round out the show.
This unusually realistic head includes strong, portrait-like features, real human hair applied in shaved patterns and raised facial scarification. It represented an ancestral spirit in initiation ceremonies and served to express their moral code.