Julie Taymor’s ‘Lion King’ costumes join Smithsonian collection


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Costumes from the Tony-winning Broadway production of ‘The Lion King’ now have a permanent home in one of country’s largest museums.

The Smithsonian National Museum of American History has acquired objects from the musical’s costume wardrobe designed by Julie Taymor. The gift from Disney Theatrical Productions includes items worn by the characters of Simba and the tribal shaman Rafiki.


Simba’s lion mask and headdress plus Rafiki’s costume, custom shoes and hat will join the museum’s permanent entertainment collections.

The gift from Disney was made on the occasion of the show’s reaching the 50 million worldwide attendance mark. ‘The Lion King’ has been produced so far in 13 countries, including Canada, Great Britain, Japan, Germany, Holland, France, Mexico, Australia, China, Taiwan, South Africa and South Korea.

Taymor, who won two Tonys in 1998 for her work on ‘The Lion King,’ and Michael Curry designed the masks for the show.

According to Disney, the Simba mask-headdress is made of lightweight carbon graphite, paint and polyester fibers. The Rafiki costume is made of cotton fabric and decorated with metal amulets. It also features a horsehair collar. The hat is made of textured kente cloth, and the shoes are made of rubber.

-- David Ng