|Title||Chokwe Mask Mwana Pwo Congo African Art|
|Country of Origin||Democratic Republic of Congo, Angola|
|Approximate Age||mid 20th Century|
|Dimensions||Height: 11 Inches
Width: 5.5 Inches
Depth: 2.5 Inches
|Overall Condition||fair to good|
|Damage/Repair||chipped rim on back of mask scrapes, stains|
A well carved mask, a work of a sculptor with great skills and artistry. This mask comes from the Chokwe. It belongs to the famous category known as Mwana pwo and had performed during the ceremonies of circumcision and initiation of Young boys. The face shows typical Chokwe scarificaction patterns and expression.
The Chokwe are members of a large culture cluster living today in central Angola, parts of the Democratic Republic of Congo and in Zambia. This cluster is composed of a number of distinct but related peoples, the most prominent of which are the Chokwe, but the cluster also includes the Lunda, Ovimbundu, Lwena, Luvala, Mbwela, and Imbangala. As a result of the complex interaction of people the region has shared stylistic elements and figural forms based upon shared mythologies and ritual practices. The present mask called Mwana pwo depicts a beautiful young woman and represents the female ancestor. Mwana pwo mask appears at the initiation and circumcision ceremonies of young boys (Mukanda). Mwana Pwo also dances at the induction of a new chief, at funerals and fertility rituals, and during public entertainment. During the performance, Mwana Pwo is always accompanied with male character masks such as Cihongo or Cikunza. The dancer of Mwana Pwo attracts a very large audience, especially women. The grace and elegant gestures of the pwo mask teach Chokwe women to act in a graceful manner. Mwana Pwo reflects all the positive attributes of an ideal woman who can serve as a Chokwe role model.
See Jordan, and al. Chokwe!