|Title||Chokwe Mask Congo African Art|
|Type of Object||Mask|
|Country of Origin||Democratic Republic of Congo|
|Approximate Age||20th century|
|Dimensions||Height: 17 Inches
Width: 12 Inches
|Damage/Repair||Cracks, chips and a well worn patina|
Additional Information: This mask comes from the Chokwe people who 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. Masks were used during Munkanda initiation rites for young boys and the Uyanga society, the men’s hunting association that instructed young boys in the hunt and also advanced men through a series of endurance tests. Other men’s asking societies appeared at funerals. Among the Chokwe dances are also the means to publicly demonstrate appropriate conduct and correct social behavior. During one version of a Munkada dance a masked figure known as Pwo, a Chokwe ancestor, representing an adult female, mature and beautiful who is dignified and spiritual reflecting all the positive attributes of an ideal woman who can serve as a Chokwe role model.