Africa Direct
Africa Direct

Chockwe Mask Mwana Pwo with Headdress Custom Stand African Art

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Title Chockwe Mask Mwana Pwo with Headdress Custom Stand African Art
Type of Object Mask
Country of Origin Democractic Republic of Congo, or Angola
People Chokwe
Materials Wood, vegetal fibers, seed pods
Approximate Age Mid 20th century
Dimensions Height: 15.50 Inches
Width: 10 Inches
17 x 10 inches on stand.
Overall Condition Good to fair. Most of our pieces have spent decades on at least two continents, and have been treasured by several owners.   Small splits, scrapes and cracks are a normal part of their patina attesting to their age and extensive use.  We examine each piece carefully when we receive it and report any damage we find in our listings.  Please look carefully at the pictures which may also reveal condition and damage.
Damage/Repair Shallow crack down cheek and loose stitching on raffia on back.

Additional Information: 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 headdress attached to the mask is well preserved. 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.