Mane of Hair (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
7 1/8 x 5 1/8 in. (18.1 x 13 cm)
Museum Collection Fund
Mane of black and white hair worn by dancer. (see 36.548) CONDITION: Good
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