Mask - Wood - Nyau - Nyao - Chewa - Zambia

Mask - Wood - Nyau - Nyao - Chewa - Zambia
2nd half 20th century - Good

Chewa Nyau Zoomorphic Mask - Gule Wa Mukulu - Katete District - Zambia
Dimensions: 282x148x1022mm
Estimated age: 1970s
Presents several chips. cracks. scratches and signs of wear.
This mask is part of the Gule Wa Mukulu ( the great dance). Nyau (also: Nyao meaning mask or initiation) is a secret society of the Chewa people. The Nyau society consists of initiated members of the Chewa people, forming the indigenous religion of the people. Initiations are separate for men and for women, with different ritual roles in the society according to gender and seniority. Only initiates are considered to be mature members of the Nyau . During performances women and children rush into the houses when a performer threatens, as the masks are worn by male members of the society and represent male knowledge. At that moment in the performance rituals, Nyau masked dancers are understood to be spirits of the dead. As spirits the masqueraders may act with impunity, there have been attacks and deaths during performances in the past.
The location where this mask was collected is in proximity to Katete, the place where Kalonga Gawa Undi - The Paramount Chief of all Chewa people in Malawi, Mozambique and Zambia lives. It was collected in Kouleandu village.
The mask represents a fantastic zoomorphic creature which is part of the Chewa peoples folklore.
I guarantee the authenticity of this mask

Lot details
Indigenous object name
Nyau - Nyao
Ethnic group/ culture
Region/ country
2nd half 20th century
Sold with stand
282×148×1022 mm
633 g
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