African art > African mask, tribal art, primitive art > Tschokwe mask
Tschokwe mask (N° 22385)
br>African Chokwe pwo masks, among the many akishi masks (sing: mukishi, indicating power) of African Chokwe tribal art, are exclusively female representations which were accompanied by accessories and finery.
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 Chokwe aesthetic canons but also served as public markers of ethnic identity.
This recurring cruciform frontal motif would also carry a cosmogonic significance.
Always worn by initiates of higher rank, these feminine masks were often decked out with buttons and accessories of European origin. Teeth cut to a point used to be a criterion of beauty.
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These masks were mainly worn during initiation ceremonies for the transition to adulthood, marking, among other things, the end of the privileged bond between a son and his mother. The scarifications in relief on the cheeks refer to the grief of the mother. Desication cracks. Brown semi-satin patina.
Height on base: 36 cm.
(source: Chokwe, B. Wastiau)
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