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.
- Female Face Mask (Mwana Pwo)
- Wood, fiber, beads, and pigment
- 44.5 × 19.3 × 18.7 cm (17 1/2 × 7 5/8 × 7 3/8 in.)
- Major Acquisitions Centennial Endowment