240735 - Rare African Mwana Pwo mask from the Chokwe - Congo.


Extremly Rare old African Mwana Pwo mask from the Chokwe, Congo.
Mwana Pwo reflects all the positive qualities of an ideal woman who can serve as a Chokwe role model.Height: 24 cm and 24 cm wide.
This mask is from the mid of the 20th century and purchased in my private collection in 2017, with a certificate of authenticity.
This mask comes from the Chokwe people. It belongs to the famous category known as Mwana pwo and was performed during the ceremonies of circumcision and initiation of young boys. The headdress attached to the mask is well preserved. The face shows typical Chokwe carving patterns and expression.
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.