Chokwe Mask Mwana Pwo with Headdress Congo
The Chokwe people, prominent in Central and Southern Africa, are renowned for their unique artistry, particularly their wooden masks adorned with cowrie shells, animal hair, and fibers. These masks play pivotal roles in ceremonies like initiations and funerals, embodying spirits or ancestral beings. Typically featuring large eyes, a prominent forehead, and scarification marks, these masks may depict human or animal figures. Highly sought after by collectors, Chokwe masks are considered prime examples of African art for their intricate designs and meticulous craftsmanship. Among their dances, the Pwo mask represents a revered Chokwe ancestor, symbolizing mature femininity and spirituality, while bird masks signify positive forces protecting the community, fostering fertility and prosperity. These finely carved masks, worn on the face and often accompanied by woven netting costumes, serve as conduits for ceremonial dances, allowing the wearer to see through their eyes or nose holes.
Approximate Age: 20th Century
Made In: Democratic Republic of the Congo