Dimensions: H:32.3" W:17.7" L:13.0" Weight: 9.7 lbs.
Chokwe Mask (Mwana Pwo) with cowrie shells by from the Democratic Republic of the Congo - Mwana Pwo mask is a popular mask from the Chokwe tribe which portrays a female deity (Pwo), the lineage's founding female ancestor, which is particularly significant given the Chokwe people's matrilineal culture. The mask depicts the ideal female and is thought to spread fertility and abundance. Men wear these masks during masquerade rites to commemorate women who have survived childbirth while maintaining their knowledge and beauty. A Cihongo mask, a masculine counterpart symbolizing strength and fortune, was frequently worn alongside it. The Chokwe people live in southern Democratic Republic of Congo, Angola, and Zambia.
About the Tribe
Chokwe, also spelled Jokwe, are Bantu-speaking people who live in the southern part of Congo (Kinshasa) from the Kwango River to the Lualaba, as well as in north-eastern Angola and, since 1920, the north-western corner of Zambia. The Chokwe people established several kingdoms, each led by a king. Drought and famine struck the Chokwe people around 1860. They returned south, settling in Angola and Democratic Republic of the Congo at the confluence of the Kwangi, Kasai, and Lungwe rivers. They live in woodland savannas with swaths of rainforest along rivers, swamps, and marshlands. They are a mixture of many aboriginal peoples and conquering groups of Lunda origin. The Chokwe and related peoples have been greatly affected by modern conflicts, despite the adversity they continue to pursue their own ways. In militarized areas in Angola and Congo, as well as in Zambian refugee camps, they practice initiation, divination, and healing rites. Some Chokwe chiefs have been displaced by war, and their authority has been challenged by modern governments political goals. Nevertheless, Chokwe chiefs continue to represent traditional and sacred authority.