mask (dance & live theatre)

Sigi mask

The Sigi festival, held in honour of ancestors is particularly remarkable, held every sixty years, it lasted for 3 months. The women’s role was to make the clothes for the dancers (to weave cowrie shells into cotton for e.g.) and they are generally excluded from participating in the masquerades (same status as the uninitiated). The Kanaga mask appears at the Dama festivals as well as the Sigi (see Kananga mask 1997.39). I’m a bit surprised because the lower section (‘ground’) normally points downwards rather than here (and the above mask) point upwards. I don’t know why this is… is this a ‘tap’ mask??

Collection Information

These objects are only a part of our collections, of which there are more than 350,000 objects. This information comes from our collections database. Some of this is incomplete and there may be errors. This part of the website is also still under construction, so there may be some fields repeated or incorrectly formatted information.

The database sometimes uses language taken from historical documents to help research, which may now appear outdated and even offensive. The database also includes information on objects that are considered secret or sacred by some communities.

If you have any further information about objects in our collections or can suggest corrections to our information, please contact us: