Skirt (Likishi Dance Costume Accessory)
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.
early 20th century
26 3/4 x 19 5/8 in. (67.9 x 49.8 cm) (show scale)
Museum Collection Fund
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Luvale. Skirt (Likishi Dance Costume Accessory), early 20th century. Reed, 26 3/4 x 19 5/8 in. (67.9 x 49.8 cm). Brooklyn Museum, Museum Collection Fund, 36.552. Creative Commons-BY
overall, 36.548_36.549_36.550a-b_36.551a-b_36.552_36.553_threequarter_installation_SL1.jpg. Brooklyn Museum photograph
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Skirt part of dance costume. (see 36.548) CONDITION: Good
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