Mask (ndeemba)

Mask (ndeemba)

early 1900s

Wood, raffia, paint, and cotton

Overall: 47 cm (18 1/2 in.)

Gift of Katherine C. White 1969.8


This Mask (Ndeemba) has been featured prominently in the African galleries since making its debut at the Cleveland Museum of Art in 1962. Dated to the 1900s, the object is part of a group of eight masks that appear at the end of the circumcision and puberty ritual (n-khanda) for Yaka boys. It would have marked the new status of the boys who became men and commemorated their re-entry into the village. Affirming age-long tradition, such masks are worn by the master of the initiation or by the newly initiated himself.

See also
African Art
African Art
Type of artwork: 

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