African art > Jars, amphoras, pots, matakam > Tabatière Tschokwe
Chokwe anthropomorphic cup (N° 19924)
Equipped with its pestle, this tobacco mortar accompanied, among other uses, rituals for ajimu spirits requiring the use of smoke. The carved figures evoke female masks mwana pwo associated with fertility and fecundity. Shaded lustrous patina.
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. Peacefully settled in eastern Angola until the 16th century, the Chokwe were then subjected to the Lunda empire from which they inherited a new hierarchical system and the sacredness of power. Nevertheless, the Chokwe never fully adopted these new social and political contributions. Three centuries later, the Chokwe eventually took over the capital of the Lunda, which had been weakened by internal conflicts, thus contributing to the dismantling of the kingdom. The Chokwe did not have a centralized power but rather large chiefdoms. It was these chieftainships that attracted artists who wished to put their skills at the exclusive service of the court. The artists created so many varied pieces of such quality that the Lunda court employed only them.
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