Body Mask

LUK 1103-21

Makonde Female ‘Ndimu’ Body Mask, Tanzania.

This original and authentic body mask originates from the Makonde people of southern Tanzania (then German East Africa) and shows a female body mask, called ‘Ndimu’, which depicts a young, pregnant woman. The dancer uses it to represent a woman’s painful childbirth. The present ‘Ndimu’ body mask is visibly old, carved in light brown wood and black coloren on the insite. It shows typical strain characterization marks in relief across and on each side and of the abdomen. With good old use patina and minor age damage (minor cuts and insect damage).

Throughout Africa, only two people have produced these body masks and danced with them: Yoruba in Nigeria (female body masks only) and Makonde in Tanzania and Mozambique (female and male). Among Makonde, male dancers perform with these body masks and matching helmet or face masks during the big ‘Mapiko dance parties’

Age: First half of the 20th century;

Measure: H: 55 cm. , W: 26 cm, D: 13 cm.

Provenience: Belgian privat collection.

‘Tanzania’ by Marc. L. Felix & Maria Kecskesi, ill. 273 bis 277; ‘Shangaa. Art of Tanzania’ by Gary van Wyk, ill. fig. 3.1, fig. 3.6

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