Female Face Mask (Mwana Pwo)

A work made of wood, fiber, beads, and pigment.

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  • A work made of wood, fiber, beads, and pigment.

Date:

Late 19th/early 20th century

Artist:

Chokwe
Angola or Democratic Republic of the Congo
Central Africa

About this artwork

A popular and frequent occurrence in entertainment masquerades, mwana pwo represents a female ancestor but is always worn by a male dancer. This mask type symbolizes fecundity and the prominent role of women in Chokwe society. Although idealized, its features suggest the individuality of a portrait, raising the possibility that it may be modeled on a particular woman. Mwana pwo often features elements of beauty such as scarification and hairstyles.

On View

Arts of Africa, Gallery 137

Artist

Chokwe

Title

Female Face Mask (Mwana Pwo)

Origin

Angola

Date

1875–1925

Medium

Wood, fiber, beads, and pigment

Dimensions

44.5 × 19.3 × 18.7 cm (17 1/2 × 7 5/8 × 7 3/8 in.)

Credit Line

Major Acquisitions Centennial Endowment

Reference Number

1992.731

Extended information about this artwork

Object information is a work in progress and may be updated as new research findings emerge. To help improve this record, please email .

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