Skip Navigation

Ndeemba Mask for N-khanda Initiation

Arts of Africa

Several types of masks are used in dances celebrating the emergence of young initiates from the Yaka circumcision camp, where boys are ritually received into Yaka manhood. Initiates hold n-khanda masks like this one to celebrate their new status as men.
MEDIUM Wood, fiber, pigment
DATES early 20th century
DIMENSIONS 20 x 14 3/4 x 14 1/2 in. (50.8 x 37.5 x 36.8 cm)  (show scale)
COLLECTIONS Arts of Africa
CREDIT LINE Gift of Gaston T. de Havenon
CATALOGUE DESCRIPTION Mask with a small carved wooden face with elaborate woven fiber headdress. The headdress consists of a central raised cone surrounded by four raised fan shapes and an outer rim of five raised cone forms projecting at angles from the center. The face has rectangular shaped ears with horseshoe indentations: the mouth is open and teeth are indicated; the eyes are coffee bean shaped and protrude. Attached around the rim of the mask is a thick raffia collar. Underneath the raffia is a handle of wood. The face and headdress are painted-face has white, blue, black and red pigment; the headdress is painted black with ochre geometric patterns. CONDITION: Raffia very dry and shedding; one point on right side of headdress cracked and fragile. This piece was treated by the Conservation Department (see file in Department office).
MUSEUM LOCATION This item is not on view
CAPTION Yaka. Ndeemba Mask for N-khanda Initiation, early 20th century. Wood, fiber, pigment, 20 x 14 3/4 x 14 1/2 in. (50.8 x 37.5 x 36.8 cm). Brooklyn Museum, Gift of Gaston T. de Havenon, 73.179.3. Creative Commons-BY (Photo: Brooklyn Museum, 73.179.3_PS2.jpg)
IMAGE overall, 73.179.3_PS2.jpg. Brooklyn Museum photograph, 2007
"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.
You may download and use Brooklyn Museum images of this three-dimensional work in accordance with a Creative Commons license. Fair use, as understood under the United States Copyright Act, may also apply. Please include caption information from this page and credit the Brooklyn Museum. If you need a high resolution file, please fill out our online application form (charges apply). For further information about copyright, we recommend resources at the United States Library of Congress, Cornell University, Copyright and Cultural Institutions: Guidelines for U.S. Libraries, Archives, and Museums, and Copyright Watch. For more information about the Museum's rights project, including how rights types are assigned, please see our blog posts on copyright. If you have any information regarding this work and rights to it, please contact
Not every record you will find here is complete. More information is available for some works than for others, and some entries have been updated more recently. Records are frequently reviewed and revised, and we welcome any additional information you might have.