At the center of Moon Masque is a papier-mâché replica of a heart-shaped white Kwele mask from Zaire surrounded by masklike profiles and designs drawn from Ethiopian textiles. Though stylized, the faces resemble actual individuals whose profiles are juxtaposed with tears falling from the eyes of the mask. It is tempting to speculate that the mask, representing heritage and tradition, weeps for the situation of contemporary African peoples.


  • Title: Moon Masque
  • Creator: Lois Mailou Jones
  • Date Created: 1971
  • Physical Dimensions: 41 x 30 1/8 (104.1 x 76.4 cm)
  • Credit Line: Smithsonian American Art Museum, Bequest of the artist
  • Artist: Born Boston, MA 1905 – Died Washington, D.C. 1998
  • Medium: oil and collage on canvas

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