Makonde Belly Mask Small 04
Our Makonde Belly Mask are hand carved by the Makonde artisans in Tanzania. The Makonde tribe come from a minority ethnic group settled in southern Tanzania and northeastern Mozambique. The Makonde came to the region in the eighteenth and nineteenth century seeking refuge from the slave trade and they have continued to experience a great deal of cultural transformation and change over the past century.
The Makonde adhere to an ancestrally based spirituality, despite pressures to convert religiously and adjust economically to the capitalist market. Their ancestry structure is traced through the female line which is rooted in their creation story of the first man who sculpted a woman out of wood. This woman became real and because of this, the female figure is an important protective symbol in Makonde society and in their art, as seen in the body mask.