Samburu Mask



The Samburu culture or ethnic groups are herders. They are related to the Masai although they live just above the equator where the foothills of Mount Kenya merge into the northern desert. They are semi-nomadic farmers whose lives revolve around their cows, sheep, goats, and camels. Milk is their main diet; sometimes it is mixed with blood. Meat is only eaten on special occasions. The Samburu have many traditions and ceremonies for every occasion including the killing of a sheep at the birth of a baby, initiation rites as they prepare to enter adulthood and marriage ceremonies, which may occur after the initiation ceremony. Duties of boys and girls are clearly delineated. Boys herd cattle and goats and learn to hunt, defending the flocks. Girls fetch water and wood and cook. Both boys and girls go through an initiation into adulthood, which involves training in adult responsibilities and circumcision for boys and clitoridectomy for girls. Authority among the Samburu is vested in the elders, but they also depend on the spiritual advice of Laibons (medicine men) whose authority is based on mystical powers. Like the Masai tribesmen, the Samburus have for long manufactured artifacts to sell or exchange with essential survival products. Masks like these are not particularly used in ceremonies but are engraved to represent the Samburu identities. This mask is carved to represent a Laibon.

This mask is a tourist mask carved for decoration purpose only. This type of mask is not used by the Samburu in any ritual.


Height : 14″ (35.6cm)