Mikishi mask from the Chokwe

Q:  I found this one in my uncle’s house while we where making it ready for sale.  Ingrid, 1173

A:  Mishiki masks are unique to the Chokwe people and they come in many different styles. That’s because this ethnic group is so large. They are spread all over southern DRC (Congo), Angola and Zambia. Size, shape and materials can vary greatly. However, the colors are usually red, white and black. The designs have complex geometric patterns on woven surfaces. They are usually oversized. Please take the time to Google “mishiki masks” to see the diversity of this unusual art form. I love them, but my enthusiasm is not shared by many collectors and scholars.

In addition to being sold to tourists, these masks are still used in culture for a number of different ceremonies. Plug: you can read more about them on pages 30 and 31 of my book, Masks of the World, by Ibold and Yohn.  B+

One Comment

  • Evka

    Hi! It’s mAkishi mask 🙂 even locals read it with ‘a’.
    Are you sure, it is made also in other countries than in Zambia and northern Zimbabwe? I was pretty sure, that it is quite unique for this part of Africa

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