Likishi Dance Costume Leggings
Arts of Africa
On View: African Storage Annex, East Gallery, 1st Floor
This complete dance costume shows how masks are normally one part of a larger ensemble. The mask is sewn directly onto the costume of looped bark and fiber, which fits tightly over the body of the dancer. Seedpod rattles and metal bells added a musical aspect to the performance.
Although they are danced by Luvale men, mwana pwevo masks depict women. In order to own and perform with a mask, a man had to symbolically marry it by paying the carver a copper ring as a bride price. In so doing, the dancer made a commitment to honor and care for the spirit represented by the mask. In return, the dancer was able to earn his livelihood performing at local festivals.
late 19th or early 20th century
Museum Collection Fund
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Luvale. Likishi Dance Costume Leggings, late 19th or early 20th century. Bark, rope, 41 x 25 1/4 in. (104.1 x 64.1 cm). Brooklyn Museum, Museum Collection Fund, 36.549. Creative Commons-BY
group, 36.548_36.549_36.550a-b_36.551a-b_36.552_36.553_front_installation_edited_SL1.jpg. Brooklyn Museum photograph, 2011
"CUR" at the beginning of an image file name means that the image was created by a curatorial staff member. These study images may be digital point-and-shoot photographs, when we don\'t yet have high-quality studio photography, or they may be scans of older negatives, slides, or photographic prints, providing historical documentation of the object.
Brown and tan bark rope trousers worn by dancer as part of a Pwo dance costume. See 36.548
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