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Statuette Chokwe Kaponya ca Cihongo wa cipaka (N° 18394)
Ex-Collection Swiss African Art.
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This statuette of power describes a leader wearing the raffia skirt and the cihongo mask. He's holding bells. Among the many African masks akishi (sing: mukishi, indicating power) of African tribal art Chokwe, the powerful male counterpart of the Mwana Pwo mask is the cihongo . Always worn by dancers of royal blood, this mask embodying a spirit symbolizes power and wealth. He also intervened, at times, on occasion judgments. Ochre red matte patina. Desication cracks. For a similar copy, see illustration 82 of Chokwe and their Bantu neighbours Ed. Mr. Merzeder.
The masks of the Chokwe, Luda, Luvale/Lwena, Luchazi and Mbunda clans are named in Zambia as 'makishi' (sing. likishi). This name comes from 'kishi', a Bantu concept that evokes the manifestation of a spirit or ancestor. These agents of a social, moral and spiritual nature, forming a panel of different characters, sociable, aggressive, or unpredictable, embody indeed the spirit of an illustrious ancestor (male or female), their appearance manifested mainly during the rites of the mukanda, including circumcision, during which their true identity must remain hidden from the eyes of the layman. Their accessories and behaviour, depending on the case, symbolize moral values, highlight fertility, or parody strangers.
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