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Chokwe Mask

Region: Angola
Tribe: Chokwe
Age: Approx. 35 years

Chokwe masks are used during various ceremonies and festivities. Chokwe people influenced the art of many neighboring peoples, including the Lunda, Mbunda, Lovale, and Mbangani. Masks play a role in male initiation. The mukanda is an initiatory institution through which religion, art, and social organisation is 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 their tribe and the secrets associated with the wearing and making of masks.Most masks are carved of wood. The Chokwe people founded several kingdoms, each headed by a god-king. Around 1860, the Chokwe people was hard hit by a drought and famine. They migrated back towards the south and settled in Angola and in Zaire, at the source of the Kwangi, Kasai and Lungwe rivers. The king named Mwana Ngana govern the Chokwe people. The male Mugonge and the female Ukule societies regulate social life. They encourage hunting and agriculcure amongst other issues. Their dynamic influence is also reflected in the art work of the people.

Dimensions: 25x18x8m