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

Masque Chokwe Pwo (N° 14228)

The African Chokwe pwo masks, among the many masks akishi (sing: mukishi , indicating the power) of African tribal art Chokwe, are exclusively female representations that were accompanied by accessories, a costume ( and adornments, yet still worn by men. Joined to their male counterparts, cihongo recognizable by their large plateau-shaped headdress, pwo must bring fertility and prosperity to the community. The cultural logic of these two icons developed during the pre-colonial period continues to inspire artists in north-eastern Angola. The characteristic patterns on the forehead, and sometimes on the cheekbones, are part of the chokwe aesthetic canons but also served as public markers of ethnic identity. This recurrent cruciform frontal pattern would also have a cosmogonic meaning.
Always worn by higher-ranking insiders, these female masks were often emblazoned with buttons and accessories of European origin. Cutting teeth used to be a beauty criterion.
The Tschokwe were established in eastern Angola, southern Zaire, and northwestern Zambia.These masks were mainly worn during the initiation ceremonies of passage to adulthood, marking among other things the end of the privileged bond between a son and His mother. The checkered scarifications on the cheeks refer to the mother's grief. Our mask is accessorized with mother-of-pearl buttons, cotton mesh, copper buckles, pearls and British pennies used in West Africa around the forties. (source: Chokwe, B. Wastiau)  

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Originex-collection Lagarde
Material(s)wood, metal, coton
Height cm25
Width17 cm
Weight0.33 Kg
Estimated dating2ème halfxx°
Socle inclusOptional

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