The objects below have been sold and are left here for educational and research purposes.
Photographs © Hamill Gallery
MAKONDE, ART, Tanzania
Makonde masks, unusually realistic heads, include strong, portrait-like features, real human hair applied in shaved patterns and raised facial scarification. They represented an ancestral spirit in initiation ceremonies and served to express their moral code.
Male Makonde dancers, taking the role of a woman in a ceremonial ritual would, in addition to a helmet mask, wear a female body mask. Carved thin, painted, tied onto the torso and combined with a mimicry of female movements the bodymasks created an effective illusion.
Stools are a minor art form for the Makonde, who are better known for their helmet masks, body masks and modern, expressionistic carvings. This small stool shows the realism for which the Makonde are famous, as well as the traditional facial scarification.
Makonde gameboards range from everyday objects with monumental, simple forms to ornate pieces bringing status to the owner. They all show the creativity and power Africans put into functional objects. Two have double heads similar to the better known Makonde helmet masks.
GO TO MAKONDE BODYMASKS PAGE 2
GO TO MAKONDE HELMET MASKS PAGE