Javascript must be enabled to view this site.

Read our system requirements.

Mask and costume
1 of 1

Mask and costume, result 1 of 1

Item Details
Available to everyone
Mask and costume
Work Type
masks (costume)
Mwinilunga, North-Western, Zambia (inhabited place)
bark cloth
basketry (object genre)
split strips of bark
fur (hair material)
pigments (probably clay)
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.
Accession Number
Related Item
Victor Turner, The Forest of Symbols: Aspects of Ndembu Ritual (Cornell University Press, 1967)
The animal-skin "cap" has some moth damage and fur loss
Victor Turner
Mukanza Village, collected during ethnographic fieldwork by Victor Turner
Archival Collection
Ndembu masks and costumes
The images in the Collection 'Selections from the Cornell Anthropology Collections' are protected by copyright, and the copyright holders are Cornell University Library and the Department of Anthropology. Physical artifacts from the Cornell Anthropology Collections were photographed by Cornell University Library in 2012-13 for inclusion in this image collection. Cornell is providing access to the materials for research and personal use. The written permission of any copyright and other rights holders is required for distribution, reproduction, or other use that extends beyond what is authorized by fair use and other statutory exemptions. Responsibility for making an independent legal assessment of an item and securing any necessary permissions ultimately rests with persons desiring to use the item.
Cornell would like to learn more about items in this collection and to hear from individuals or institutions that have any additional information. This collection is funded by an Arts and Sciences Grant to Frederic W. Gleach, Curator of the Anthropology Collections. Please contact him for more information about this collection, or to request permission to use these images.
This image has been selected and made available by a user using Artstor's software tools. Artstor has not screened or selected this image or cleared any rights to it and is acting as an online service provider pursuant to 17 U.S.C. §512. Artstor disclaims any liability associated with the use of this image. Should you have any legal objection to the use of this image, please visit for contact information and instructions on how to proceed.
Use of this image is in accordance with the applicable Terms & Conditions
File Properties
File Name

Now viewing Mask and costume