Face Mask for Midimu Masquerade



Midimu masks evoked the spirits of deceased ancestors during dramatic masquerade performances staged especially during ceremonies associated with male and female initiation rites. Designs were applied to the surface on the mask in beeswax before each performance, which reproduce the patterns of raised tattoos that Makonde men and women traditionally applied to their faces. This mask was the only East African piece that Hutchings purchased with the museum’s war damage fund in the 1960s.