African art > African mask, tribal art, primitive art > Tschokwe mask

Tschokwe mask (N° 22070)

A wickerwork helmet with textile braids evokes the braided hairstyle coated with red earth of the Chokwe women. The lines are enhanced with traditional scarified motifs. Medium brown patina, losses and abrasions from use.
African Chokwe pwo masks, among the many akishi or "akixi" (sing: mukishi, indicating power) Chokwe masks, are representations women who were accompanied by accessories and finery. They were, however, worn by high-ranking men. Joined to their male counterparts, cihongo recognizable by their large headdress in the shape of a plate, the pwo must bring fertility and prosperity to the community. The characteristic patterns present on the forehead, and sometimes on the cheekbones, are part of the chokwe aesthetic canons and also served as public markers of ethnic identity. The cruciform frontal motif would also have a cosmogonic meaning. Always worn by initiates of higher rank, these female masks were often decked out with buttons and accessories of European origin. These masks were mainly worn during initiation ceremonies for the transition to adulthood, marking, among other things, the end of the privileged bond between a son and his mother. The checkerboard scarifications on the cheeks, here discreet crosses, refer to the grief of the mother.  

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OriginCollection portugaise
Material(s)wood, metal, textile et vannerie
Height cm34
Width20 cm
Weight1.10 Kg
Socle inclusOptional

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