240711 - Old African sculpture from the Chokwe - Angola.


Old African sculpture from the Chokwe, Angola
Height: 39 cm.

The Chokwe are members of a large cultural cluster that now lives in central Angola, parts of the Democratic Republic of Congo and Zambia. This cluster consists of a number of different 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 between people, the region has shared stylistic elements and figurative forms based on shared mythologies and ritual practices. The current mask called Mwana pwo depicts a beautiful young woman and represents the female ancestor. Mwana pwo mask appears at the initiation and circumcision ceremonies of young boys (Mukanda). Mwana Pwo also dances at the induction of a new chief, at funerals and fertility rituals, and during public entertainment. During the performance, Mwana Pwo is always accompanied by male character masks such as Cihongo or Cikunza. Mwana Pwo's dancer attracts a very large audience, especially women. The grace and elegant gestures of the pwo mask teach Chokwe women to act gracefully. Mwana Pwo reflects all the positive qualities of an ideal woman who can serve as a Chokwe role model.