Mask of a Sikh

Makonde People

Mudec - Museum of Cultures

Mudec - Museum of Cultures
Milan, Italy

The lipiko masks of Makonde People are interpreted as the embodiment of the deads, they are seen as scary and are involved in the initiatory rites of boys and girls. With the development of global contacts, some lipiko masks started to reproduce arabian, european or asiatic facial features. These masks have been interpreted as caricatures or as ways to try to seize the power of strangers and colonizers. This particular mask represents a Sikh. This indian population was first met by the Makonde during the wars that brought to the british conquest of Tanzania and other areas of Central and Eastern Africa. A large number of Sikhs, considered as an arian strong race, was in fact employed by the UK as mercenary army.


  • Title: Mask of a Sikh
  • Creator: Makonde People
  • Date Created: 20th century (first half)
  • Location Created: Tanzania
  • Physical Dimensions: h 28 cm
  • Type: Mask
  • Rights: Museum of Cultures, Milan - AFR 01104
  • Medium: Carved and painted wood, hair
  • Collocazione: On view (room 3)

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