Unusual Lipiko helmet mask

Makonde Lipiko mask
Makonde Lipiko mask

Q:  You may remember me – I sold you the field-collected yellow Makonde mask from Mandela, Mozambique. (I did my fieldwork among the Makonde in 2004)  I think the Makonde mask with mustache and blue skull cap is pretty interesting and wonder if you have additional photos of it. Is it yours?  I’d love to know more about it, and see more views of it.  Thanks, Alex

A: I will send you more photos. In the meantime, here is what little I know about it. I bought it 15 years ago from a source that knew nothing. It is pretty beat up with scratches and sweat stains, plus some native repairs inside. I think it represents and Arab or Asian merchant. It still is a good looking Lipiko and I like the fact that it is well used. Perhaps someone will offer an opinion.

One Comment

  • leon.coray

    The acryllic shining blue might have been added later. It’s a lipiko mask of the makonde (Tanzania,Mocambique area )it is put in a small hut behind the hut of a village elder and shown at feasts and during initiation lessons and represents a person of importance to the localltity.
    The half open type (none bell alike)is being called Mapiko. They are well known for their facial scarifications and their lipplugs. The hair is real and catches moth soon, spray it with something if you donot wish it to lose some charm! Madrason

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