African Makonde Facial Head Helmet Mask

African Makonde Facial Head Helmet Mask


Vintage from 1960s

rom the southeast of Tanzania and the northeast of Mozambique are about 500,000 Makonde, divided into clans, each one comprising several villages. The Makonde are almost the only ethnicity in East Africa to create fairly naturalistic sculptures – primarily maternity figures, which are intended to ensure the fertility of the fields and women. 

This particular piece was most likely made anywhere around the 1960's. Made from light wood, I really love how the artist used the scarred wood in the front of the upper face, creating a beautifully simple but specific statement. There's thin carved patterns mimicking tribal scarring. There's a piece missing on the back that must have cracked off many years ago.

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