Hemba Monkey Mask
Hemba monkey masks are carved in two sizes. A small mask may be worn at the waist and is danced to insure fertility associated with harvest and to protect the household.

Larger monkey or so'o masks are brought out for funerals because the monkey is a symbol of death and judgement.. Even here, the monkey plays two roles. It helps to end the period of mourning and to return the village to the balance that disturbed by the death and, in a second appearance, it acts out as an entertainment mask. In this form it reminds the villagers that it is also a trickster or troublemaker.

Please use arrow buttons to move to the next/previous image in the Exhibition
Return to African Art & Culture Page; Click Here