240657 - Rare African Makonde Ndimu mask - Tanzania.


Rare African Makonde Belly Ndimu mask - Tanzania.
Size: 37 cm high.
This type of mask, symbol of wealth and happiness, is very special and is worn on the stomach of male or female dancers during ceremonies related to fertility.
We find these types of objects in many African ethnic groups, from East to West (Yoruba, Ibo, Makondé...) It is part of a whole and is associated with a face mask. In its representation we can find bellies that also associate feminine qualities with masculine ones, for example a belly with breasts and a penis.
Among the Yoruba, the navel is often surrounded by scarifications in the shape of a cross, symbolizing the two parents of the father and the mother. They can be made of painted wood or lacquered wood, such as Gèlèdè masks.
Among the Makondé, these belly masks are called Ndimu. They correspond to the transition to adult status of young children, boys and girls. At the end of their isolation period, festivities are organized, especially after the circumcision of the young boys, the release of the Ndimu mask that evokes a pregnant woman.

The man wearing it will mimic the stages and pains of childbirth. Lucky charm

Ex. Austrian private collection.