Maasai Mask


Object    : Mask
Culture   : Maasai
Country  :East Africa
20th Century
Vessel Cultural Exchange









The Maasai people of East Africa live in southern Kenya and northern Tanzania along the Great Rift Valley. Their society is comprised of sixteen sections (known in Maasai as Iloshon). The Maasai are a semi-nomadic people who lived under a communal  land management system. Each section manages its own territory. According to Maasai traditional land agreement, no one should be denied access to natural resources such as water and land. The lifestyle of the Maasai should be embraced as a response to climate change because of their ability to farm in deserts and scrublands.    

Maasai men are first and foremost warriors. They protect their people, their cattle and their grazing lands. Often standing over 6ft tall the Maasai warrior with his beaded hair, red checked blanket (shuka) and balled club, looks both fierce and beautiful. The Maasai women are responsible for all domestic tasks which include making their homes. The Maasai women are as impressive as the men in their looks. Tall, slender and bedecked with large beaded necklaces and long braided hair.