Africa Direct
Africa Direct

Chokwe Mask Mwana Pwo Horns Raffia Headdress Congo Africa

AvailabilityIn stock
Special Price $120.00 Regular Price $240.00
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Title Chokwe Mask Mwana Pwo Horns Raffia Headdress Congo Africa
Type of Object Mask
Country of Origin Democratic Republic of Congo, or Angola
People Chokwe
Materials Wood, raffia fibers, , pigment
Approximate Age 20th Century
Height (in) 15
Width (in) 5.5
Dimensions Height: 15 Inches
Width: 5.5 Inches
14 inches wide w/ raffia, 13 inches deep w/ raffia
Overall Condition Good. 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 some cracks, one horn repaired.


From the collection of Howard Gelb, St. Paul, MN collector of African Art, who was also a businessman, lawyer, and philanthreopist. Mr. Gelb died in 2015, at the age of 96.
Note: the mask has several velcro tabs on the chin from its previous display. These tabs can be removed.

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.