Masks

Chokwe Mask

Chokwe Mask

Country of origin
Angola
Description
The Chokwe are the largest ethnic group on the Angolan and Zambian borders of central Africa. The vast majority of Chokwe objects are decorated with figures and geometric motifs. Since they were in contact with European tradesmen from the 18th century onwards, some of their figures bear a European influence. Masks made by the Chokwe are called Akisi. This is a fine example of a dance mask and represents the male (Cihongo) version of ancestral spirits. The male Makanda spirit is responsible for overseeing male initiation, circumcision festivities and the passing on of knowledge about the ancestors. These masks represent wealth and power. They differ from the female masks as they have a broad mouth with exposed teeth and a raffia beard. The elaborate tattoo patterns on the forehead, cheeks and chin, reflect Chokwe ideals of beauty and the practice of scarification.
Dimensions & Weight
32cm high, 17cm wide, 19cm deep
Material
Wood, pigment, vegetal fibres