Chokwe Mwana Pwo mask
The African mask Pwo, whose name means "woman", illustrates the first female ancestor in the traditional Chokwe culture which is, remember, matrilineal.
When the dancer asks the sculptor to make a Pwo mask for him, he symbolically presents him with a copper ring corresponding to the "price" of the bride. He thus concludes a mystical marriage with the mask.
The dancer wears the mask accompanied by an integral costume macramé of vegetable cords.
Here, the open mouth reveals the teeth sculpted for aesthetic purposes among the Chokwe as in some other ethnic groups in southern Congo and northern Angola.
Feminized dance requires a fly trap or a rattle as an accessory. Before being repatriated to Belgium, this Pwo (or Mwana Pwo) mask intervened in the initiation rites of boys called Mukanda. He was accompanied by a male mask Ci Hongo which you will find copies in our gallery of African art.
- Presumed dating
- Circa 1960
- 21 x 13 cm
- Ethnic group
- Chokwe / Tchokwe / Tschokwe
- Wood, rope
- Tribal art collection Belgium
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