Liarin Mayasek
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            hysical beauty and decoration is important to

Maasai warriors, ilmurran.  Anxious to attract girls, hours are spent decorating themselves and each other, plaiting hair or sharing jewellery. Ilmurran braid their hair into long plaits, often twisting in strands of wool to greater length. Sanna Artist in Residence Liarin Mayasek braids red wool into the scull area called eripata, replacing traditional ground ocher mixed with fat or water.  Limbs, necks or ears are adorn with beaded ornaments made by female suitors.  Liarin and other hair artists add beads and shinny soft metal to the back ‘tail’ called enchada and the front called ebati enkomom. The olmurani will later add jewellery to connect the sides that fit under the chin called esambai.

Fellow traditional healer Lesikar of the Osero Forest Clinic, African-Living Spa at Gibb’s Farm wears one of Liarin’s creations.  He is holding a wood carving made by Artist-In-Residence Aloyce, to hold hair work. He is completing this commissioned work for the Morani House.   At bottom we share the completed pieces.

Captured on video below, Liarin is helping Mayon of the the Osero Forest Clinic and African Living Spa of Gibb’s Farm. Mayon was preparing to return home to his village shortly and in a bit of a hurry to look smart, so others joined in to help Liarin with his art.

A complete description of the Maasai men’s hair is at the end of this page.

With eight short braids hanging in back, indiang’unung’unu, we note the stiffeners, emaamboi, are absent. The braid is simply bound with the ends exposed. Even numbers are favored with the number eight as the most auspicious. The man to wear this style does not yet posses the confidence to display the emaamboi or a long enjada as olopito oor tabaye enkorionk.
A single braid is pulled up to the forehead and bound with soft leather. The women has declared the Ormurrani her chosen warrior, Osanja.  He will next lead this age set to her boma to receive her milk in a calabash on a given day. He will wear this style for eight days - an event called ingipot.
 With four braids hanging in back, enchada, we note there is no stiffener, emaamboi, The braid is simply bound with the ends exposed. This pleasant variation may easily evoke the style of the artist and olmurani, or suggest he hasn’t the confidence to display the emaamboi.  When the enchada is very long the ensemble is called a Olopito oor tabaye enkorionk.
The front braid, ebati enkomom, to the left, is neat with a narrow stay called ebati made of aluminium cut from a cooking pot is attached for adornment.  The white and black bead colour combination is called esambay. Historically the black color was associated with the mitigative nature of Enkai (god); white to the importance of cows. Today such colors speak more of the artist or the olmurani’s personal style or preference.
Commissioned hair art for the Morani House
Aluminum is chosen to reflect light and to be easily seen from afar. It symbolizes the care of the community. Motifs vary from geometric designs to celestial.  The moon dipping slightly to the right is an auspicious sign: hopeful for rain as visually sighted during raining seasons. The Olokira Kilekenye eastern star is bright and also present during raining season.  The hair at its front tip is generally finished in a coil to attach to the Esambai.
Completing the details of a Ilmurran’s hair at Gibb’s Farm
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