Chokwe Luvale Pwo Mask
Published in the collection book of the gallery.
Mask in wood depicting a woman with a mass of strings knotted on the summit of the head, representing hair. On the front, there are glass-beads, the hair is maintained in place by a thick headband, carved in the summit of the head. The face presents arched eyebrows with big eye-sockets under the lentoid eyes. The nose is small, the open mouth shows a series of sharp teeth, on top and bellow. The face has scarification marks on the forehead, the eye-sockets and the chin. Under the chin there is a woven textile, made to hide the face of the wearer. Mounted on a custom-made stand.
This type of mask is worn by the Mwana Phwevo mascarons, on the forehead; the name Mwana Phwevo means “young woman” and refers to a mythical feminine character, who died young and whose loss was reminded by a dance performed in this masquerade. The facial motifs refer to the Luena beauty ideals. The dance is performed by men who participate in diverse festivities, in order to entertain the village, especially the female inhabitants, with performances in which sexual references play a role.
Height: 17 cm (mask only); 6.6 inches.
Provenance: Former private collection, Belgium; former England Gallery Collection
- Indigenous object name
- Mwana Pwo
- Ethnic group/ culture
- Region/ country
- Beads, Metal, Wood
- 1st half 20th century
- Sold with stand
- 17×0×0 cm