K5M8M367S.jpg (33236 bytes)K5M8M367.jpg (29553 bytes)Makonde (Wamakonde), Tanzania and Mozambique

Body mask (Njorowe).  About 500,000 Makonde inhabit the southeast of Tanzania and the northeast of Mozambique. They are divided into matrilinear clans, each one comprising several villages. Clan members meet only for the ancestral cult and to celebrate initiations. The woman plays an important role in mythology as well as in religion and art. According to the legend, the first man, wandering around outside the bush, sculpted a female figure out of wood, and then fell asleep. When he awoke, the statue had become a real woman who gave him many children and, after her death became the venerated ancestress of the Makonde. The body masks celebrate the return of young men to the village after they have been initiated into adult life. The men who wear them cover their faces with a mask of a feminine face. They represent pregnant women. The feminine mask dances with great composure, while a masculine mask dramatizes the pains of childbirth. An orchestra of drummers accompanies the dances.

Material:  wood

Size:   26”x15”x8”