Mask and costume



Mask and costume






Cornell: Selections from the Anthropology Collections; Mask and costume, probably representing a makishi. The mask is made of painted bark cloth tied on to a basketry frame with bark string. An animal skin is attached to the top of the mask, with the tail hanging down the back. The paint colors used are brown (5 YR 3/1-4/1 dark gray), white, and red (2.5 YR 4/6-5/6 red). The neck is made of woven bark-string in a crochet stitch and the rest of the costume consists of long strips of split wood or bark mounted on three wooden hoops. The face of the mask is painted brown. The eyes and mouth are painted red with a thick white circle around them. There is a red line both at the base of the nose and at its bridge. There is also a red line down the length of the nose and a white line at the bridge. The rest of the face is covered with red and white spots. The forehead, above the ridge, is decorated with a series of red-brown-white--red-brown-white lines and red and white spots. Behind this design, there is a cap of spotted animal fur over the head. Four rows of light brown crochet and four rows of darker brown crochet make up the neck. The rest of the costume consists of long strips of naturally colored split wood or bark. There are over 50 masked makishi (ancestral spirits embodied by men in masks and costumes; singular ikishi) presented by dancers in the Kwidisha part of the Mukanda ceremonies (circumcision rites). The name of this figure was not recorded.


Ndembu (African people)--Rites and ceremonies
Masks, African
Turner, Victor, 1920-1983





Ndembu, “Mask and costume,” Center for Knit and Crochet Digital Repository, accessed May 25, 2024,