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Chokwe Mask Mwana Pwo Headdress Congo African Art COLLECTION

Regular Price: $450.00

Special Price: $290.00

Product #: 128321
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Title Chokwe Mask Mwana Pwo Headdress Congo African Art COLLECTION
Country of Origin Democratic Republic of Congo, or Angola
People Chokwe
Materials Wood, raffia fibers, shells and hair.
Approximate Age Early 20th Century
Dimensions Height: 12.5 Inches
Width: 7 Inches
Depth: 5 Inches
Hair 21 inches.
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 Arrested bug damage.

 Additional Information: This Chokwe Mwana Pwo mask is carved with great attention to detail in defining exquisite facial features, the typical cruciform Chokwe scarification on the forehead and cheeks and a headdress delicately attached to the carved face:  All these details define the female beauty in the Chokwe culture.

The Chokwe people 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.  


From the Collection of Dr. Robert Pearson, Denver, Colorado

Dr. Bob Pearson began collecting African art later in his life.  He was an engineer, inveterate climber, and long-time collector of books and paintings.  Spurred by the Douglas Society at the Denver Museum of Art, and his friendship with noted collector George Heggarty, he began building an enormous, eclectic collection. His African art library grew to several hundred books.  He loved textiles and “material culture”-things which had domestic use, like spoons, cups, stools, and chairs, as well as masks and carvings.  His collection included items from more than thirty African countries, and his fine eye gave him pieces ranging from a golddust scale to huge Dogon figural ladders.  Africa Direct is honored to have been chosen to sell them.