Red Kimono portraits online

In the next few days the final four of the thirty Red Kimono portraits will be published on the website as well as on the facebook page and on twitter.

The accompanying booklets, are available for visitors to take, free of charge, in the Conway Hall Entrance on Red Lion Square, or by post if you send a request to:

Today’s portrait is of Milly:


Red Kimono: Milly © Lis Fields 2015

Dinka youth, South Sudan, whiten their faces:

Dinka youth from a cattle camp near Akot, South Sudan sing and beat their sticks together in time to the music. Hair died orange with cow urine, the youth have also smeared cow dung ash (the white marks) on their faces, heads, and bodies as a beauty cosmetic. The cow dung ash has dual appeal, also actingas a mosquito repellent at night:


Mussiro is a thick white paste extracted from the roots of the ‘N’tunkuti’ tree, traditionally worn by Makua women of Mozambique and Tanzania.

Historically it was worn to signify virginity or to indicate menstruation or an absent husband or sexual availability. It was used in ceremonies to mark the beginning of womanhood or in funerals.

Mussiro is also valued as a beauty treatment and is used from the puberty onwards to protect the skin against acne and wrinkles:

Fotos de Mulheres Moçambicanas Com Mussiro

pale makeup to assert status and maintain power

European history has numerous examples of powerful women who used a mask of pale makeup to assert their high social status and to maintain power in patriarchal societies: Catherine de Medici (1519 – 1589) wife of Henry II of France, Queen Elizabeth I of England (1553 -1603), Marie Antoinette (1755 – 1793) wife of Louis XVI of France:

1555 - Miniature of Catherine de' Medici - attributed to F Clouet640px-Elizabeth_I_in_coronation_robes640px-Marie_Antoinette_by_Joseph_Ducreux