African art > Mask > Box mask
Tchokwe box mask (N° 14874)
These objects intended to be hung on the walls of the boxes had a protective function. It is adorned with a face covered in red ochre, bearing the motifs associated with traditional tears, reminiscent of ethnic masks. African masks Chokwe pwo , among the many masks akishi (sing: mukishi, indicating power) of African tribal art Chokwe , embody an ideal of beauty, Mwana Pwo, or the woman Pwo and appear nowadays during festive ceremonies. Joined to their male counterparts, chihongo recognizable by their large plateau-shaped headdress, the pwo must bring fertility and prosperity to the community.
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Peacefully 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 Chokwes never fully embraced these new social and political contributions. Three centuries later, they eventually seized the capital of Lunda, weakened by internal conflicts, thus contributing to the dismantling of the kingdom. The Chokwe did not have 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 and quality pieces that the Lunda court employed only them. Within the Tchokwé society, hunting and cultivation lands were provided by King mwana ngana.
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