African art > African mask > Chokwe Mask

Women's Mask Mwana Pwo Chokwe (N° 17758)

African masks Chokwe pwo , among the many masks akishi (sing: mukishi, indicating power) of African tribal art Chokwe, are exclusively female representations that were accompanied by accessories and adornments. Joined by their male counterparts, cihongo recognizable to their large tray-shaped headdresses, the pwo must bring fertility and prosperity to the community. The characteristic motifs 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 significance.
Always worn by senior-grade insiders, these women's masks were often embalmed with buttons and accessories of European origin. Pointed teeth were once a criterion for beauty.
These masks were mainly worn during the initiation ceremonies of passage to the adult state, marking among other things the end of the privileged bond between a son and his mother. The scarifications on the cheeks, here barely visible, refer to the mother's grief. A solid frame of wicker and raffia forms a realistic headdress on which wool balls appear the hair. This mask is oiled, conferring a matte patina under which a light wood emerges. Very slight abrasions, crack in the chin. (source: Chokwe, B. Wastiau)  

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Originex-collection Colmant
Countryrdc ex zaire
Material(s)wood, plant fibre
Weight0.45 Kg
Estimated datingmid-xx°
Socle inclusOptional

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