About this object

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.

Object specifics

  • Type
    Mask
  • Culture
    Makonde
  • Artist/Maker
  • Place made
    Africa: Eastern Africa: Tanzania: Newala
  • Date made
    20th Century
  • Materials
    Bead; Wood; Textile; Wax
  • Location
    Item not currently on display
  • Acquisition
    Purchased From Sotherby and Co., 1966
  • Collector
  • Place collected
    Africa: Eastern Africa: Tanzania
  • Date collected
    1966 before
  • Measurements
    220 mm x 190 mm x 160 mm
  • Note
    Stockbook: Makonde Dance Mask. Purchased from Sotheby & Co., (Reserved per P. Goldman 14th December) (Lot, 107) in 1966 by Richard Hutchings, Keeper of Ethnography, with War Damage Fund. Reference: Wembah-Rashid, J. A. 1971. Isinyago and Midimu: Masked Dancers of Tanzania and Mozambique. African Arts, 4 (2): 38-44.
Object view = Humanities
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