Male Face Mask (Chihongo)

A work made of wood, raffia, burlap, turaco feathers, guinea fowl feathers, and pigment.
CC0 Public Domain Designation

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  • A work made of wood, raffia, burlap, turaco feathers, guinea fowl feathers, and pigment.

Date:

Mid–/late 19th century

Artist:

Chokwe
Angola or Democratic Republic of the Congo
Central Africa

About this artwork

The Chokwe use masquerade to engage with their ancestors, encouraging them to guide, protect, and educate the living. This mask, depicting an idealized ancestral chief called Chihongo, has a refined sculptural form that is accentuated by its red-ocher coloring and magnificent blue feathered headdress. The mask’s stylized beard symbolizes wisdom, leadership, and seniority. Its filed teeth and scarification patterns reflect status and ethnicity. Chihongo is the male equivalent of the female Mwana Pwo mask [see1992.731]; both take part in performances during male initiation rites. Chihongo, however, also appears at other events where chiefly affirmation is desired.

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Arts of Africa

Artist

Chokwe

Title

Male Face Mask (Chihongo)

Origin

Angola

Date

1850–1900

Medium

Wood, raffia, burlap, turaco feathers, guinea fowl feathers, and pigment

Dimensions

73.7 × 48.3 cm (29 × 19 in.)

Credit Line

Restricted gift of Mrs. James W. Alsdorf

Reference Number

2003.174

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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