Minyaki, or ikhoko (carved things) are ivory miniatures which were worn on a necklet to armlet by men who had undergone the initiation rites of the Mbuya secret society. To some extent, they were protective amulets, but their main purpose was to remind the initiate of his symbolic death and rebirth into adult society and the lessons and obligations that he learned during his period of seclusion in the bush. They were generally worn on a string of red or blue glass beads.
This mask shows the facial scarification, a zig-zag line along jaw- and brow-line which suggests hair, and the three-pointed hat worn by a chief of the Mbuya.
Margret Carey, 1997
Entry taken from Robert and Lisa Sainsbury Collection, Vol. 2: Pacific, African and Native North American Art, edited by Steven Hooper (Yale University Press, 1997) p. 191.
Purchased by the Sainsbury Centre, University of East Anglia from K. J. Hewett in 1976 out of funds provided by Robert and Lisa Sainsbury.
Not on display
Title/Description: Miniature mask
Object Type: Mask
Materials: Elephant ivory
Measurements: h. 78 x w. 40 x d. 35 mm
Accession Number: 657
Historic Period: Late 19th/20th century
Cultural Group: Pende
Credit Line: Purchased with support from Robert and Lisa Sainsbury, 1976