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

Tschokwe mask (N° 22189)

Reminiscent of the hairstyle smeared with red earth of the Chokwe women, cotton braids border the contours of the African Tschokwe or Luena mask surmounted by a hat trimmed with feathers. The facial features are carefully chiseled, embellished with traditional scarified motifs. Orange satin patina.

Height on base: 63 cm.
The Chokwé did not have centralized power but large chiefdoms. They were the ones who attracted artists wishing to put their know-how at the exclusive service of the court. The artists created so many varied pieces and of such quality that the Lunda court only employed them. African Chokwe pwo masks, among the many akishi or "akixi" masks (sing: mukishi, indicating power) of Chokwe tribal art , are exclusively female representations which were accompanied by accessories and finery. They were, however, worn by high-ranking men. Together with their male counterparts, cihongo recognizable by their large plate-shaped headdress, the pwo must bring fertility and prosperity to the community. The characteristic patterns present on the forehead, and sometimes on the cheekbones, are part of the aesthetic canons chokwe, like the pointed teeth, but also serve as public markers of ethnic identity. This recurring cruciform frontal motif would also carry a cosmogonic significance. Always worn by initiates of higher rank during ceremonies closing the mukanda initiation, these masks were often decked out with buttons and accessories of European origin.  

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OriginEx-collection belge
Material(s)wood, textile, plumes, metal, fourrure
Height cm37
Width18 cm
Weight0.85 Kg
Estimated datingmid-xx°
Socle includedYes

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