161
161
A Fine and Rare Chokwe Mask, Zambia
Estimate
15,00020,000
LOT SOLD. 31,000 USD
JUMP TO LOT
161
A Fine and Rare Chokwe Mask, Zambia
Estimate
15,00020,000
LOT SOLD. 31,000 USD
JUMP TO LOT

Details & Cataloguing

African, Oceanic and Pre-Columbian Art

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New York

A Fine and Rare Chokwe Mask, Zambia

mwana pwo, of deeply hollowed triangular form, the female face with open mouth showing teeth, with elaborate scarification on the face and with fibers, cloth and strands of glass beads attached; fine varied reddish-brown patina with residue.

 


height (of mask) 7 in. 17.8 cm
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Provenance

Marc Leo Felix, Brussels
Fred Jahn, Munich

Exhibited

Iowa City, The University of Iowa Museum of Art, Kilengi: African Art from the Bareiss Family Collection, March 27 - May 23, 1999 (for additional venues see bibliography, Roy 1997)

Literature

Christopher D. Roy, Kilengi: African Art from the Bareiss Family Collection, Seattle, 1997, pp. 141 and 35, fig. 77
--, Kilengi. Afrikanische Kunst aus der Sammlung Bareiss, Hanover, 1997, pp. 145 and 355, fig. 77

Catalogue Note

Roy (1997: 351-352, text to fig. 77) notes: "This small, very old mask represents the female character named pwo, 'woman,' or mwana pwo, 'young girl.' With its male counterpart chihongo it is worn in dances which magically bring fertility and prosperity to the community. The male mask represents the spirit of power and wealth, while the female mask represents the female ancestor, specifically Lweji, the daughter of a Lunda king who married a Luba hunter named Chibinda Ilunga and created the Chokwe people. The pwo performer is male but dresses like a woman; he dances elegantly and gracefully, showing the women of the village how they should behave and the value of graciousness and good manners. If the performance does not please the women, however, by depicting them as they wish to be seen, they chase the performer from the dance area.

"The scarification patterns on the face include the circular sun disks on each cheek, and vertical marks beneath the eyes called masoji a mitelumuna nyi cijingo, the 'tracks of tears.' The patterns on the chin are called kapile, 'irrigation ditch.' The deep line down the nose is called kangongo after a small mouse which has a broad stripe down its back. The pointed teeth represent the cosmetic practice of chipping and filing the teeth to make the owner more attractive."

African, Oceanic and Pre-Columbian Art

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New York