African art > African mask, tribal art, primitive art > Chokwe mask
Ex-French African art collection Among the many African akishi masks (sing: mukishi, indicating power) of African tribal art Chokwe, the powerful male counterpart of the Mwana mask Pwo is the cihongo. These miniature masks are worn on costumes or the initiation headdress.
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Always worn by dancers of royal blood, this mask with a very specific structure, embodying a spirit, symbolizes power and wealth. He also occasionally intervened in judgments.
Abraded matte patina, chips. Height on base: 38 cm.
The masks of the Chokwe, Luda, Luvale/Lwena, Luchazi and Mbunda clans are called "makishi" (sing. likishi) in Zambia. This name comes from "kishi", a Bantu concept that evokes the manifestation of a spirit or an ancestor. These agents of social, moral and spiritual order, forming a panel of different characters, sociable, aggressive, or unpredictable, in fact embody the spirit of an illustrious ancestor (male or female), their appearance manifesting itself mainly during rites mukanda, including circumcision, during which their true identity must remain hidden from the eyes of the profane. Their accessories and their behavior, depending on the case, symbolize moral values, highlight fertility, or even parody strangers.
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