210104 - Rare Antique tribal used Chikunga Chokwe mask - Congo
Rare Antique tribal used Chikunga Chokwe mask with Cap from congo
Height; 60 cm. made begin 20th century.
Hand carved from a single piece of wood and other material with color pigments.
The most powerful and important Chokwe mask is known as chikunga. Highly charged with power and considered sacred, chikunga is used during investiture ceremonies of a chief and sacrifices to the ancestors. These masks are made of barkcloth stretched over an armature of wickerwork, covered over with black resin and painted with red and white designs. Only the current chief of a group wears Chikunga.
This mask was used during the inauguration ceremony of the king. The ceremony is an important investiture event. During the ceremony sacrifices are made to the ancestors. According to Chokwe belief, ancestral spirits play the crucial role of providing for living descendants. The ancestral characters also protect the peoples from intruders or evil (wanga) supernatural elements. The Chokwe people influenced the art of many neighboring tribes, including the Lunda, Mbunda, Lovale and Mbangani. The mukanda masks play a role in male initiation. The mukanda is an initiatory institution through which religion, art, and social organization are transmitted from one generation to the next. Mukanda training lasts from one to two years. Boys between the ages of about eight and twelve are secluded in a camp in the wilderness, away from the village. There they are circumcised and spend several months in a special lodge where they are instructed in their anticipated roles as men. As part of their instruction, the boys are taught the history and traditions of the group and the secrets associated with the wearing and making of masks.