Chokwe Bird Mask Moveable Jaw Wood Angola
Stylistically identified to Chokwe in the Democratic Republic of the Congo or Angola, this mask represents a bird recognized by its beak. This mask is remarkable by its uniqueness and by the fact that masks of this type are rare to find in Western collections. The most known Chokwe masks are Mwana Pwo and Cihongo. This example would be a good addition to any collection. This mask offers an exciting visual effect and evidences some age!.
The Chokwe are members of a large culture cluster living today in central Angola, parts of the Democratic Republic of the Congo and in Zambia. This cluster is composed of a number of distinct but related peoples, the most prominent of which are the Chokwe, but the cluster also includes the Lunda, Ovimbundu, Lwena, Luvala, Mbwela, and Imbangala. As a result of the complex interaction of people the region has shared stylistic elements and figural forms based upon shared mythologies and ritual practices. Masks were mainly used during Mukanda initiation rites for young boys. Among the Chokwe dances are also the means to publicly demonstrate appropriate conduct and correct social behavior. During one version of a Mukanda dance a masked figure known as Pwo, a Chokwe ancestor, representing an adult female, mature and beautiful who is dignified and spiritual reflecting all the positive attributes of an ideal woman who can serve as a Chokwe role model. The Pwo mask dances in tandem with other masks known aincluding the bird mask. Among the Chokwe the symbol of bird is associated to positive forces used in to protect the community. When dancing, bird masks spread positive forces that guarantee fecundity and fertility. This finely carved mask is worn on the face. It woul be completed with woven netting costume. Basically, the dancer sees through the eyes or the nose's holes of the mask.
Approximate Age: 20th Century