African art > Jar > Can Tschokwe
Large anthropomorphic pot Chokwe (N° 17016)
This anthropomorphic container depicts the leader, mythical hero Chibinda Ilunga, wearing a winged headdress of a certain size, chipangula or cipenya mutwe . These hairstyles consisted of various materials, specifically a wicker frame covered with fabric, brass, leather, pearls. The chief had taught his people the art of hunting. The chiefs had a major function in the rites of propitiation intended for the hunting and fertility of women, the objects being decorated with this figure therefore presumably having a protective function. The bust forms a deep container with a circular lid that shows the head of the figure. Greyish brown patina, desication cracks and abrasions.
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Paisiblely settled in eastern Angola until the 16th century, the Chokwé were then subjected to the Lunda empire from which they inherited a new hierarchical system and the sanctity of power. Nevertheless, the Chokwé never fully embraced these new social and political contributions. Three centuries later, they eventually seized the capital of the Lunda, weakened by internal conflicts, thus contributing to the dismantling of the kingdom. The Chokwé had no centralized power but great chiefdoms. They were the ones who attracted artists who wanted to put their know-how 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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