About this artwork
The Chokwe use masquerades to engage with their ancestors, encouraging them to guide, protect, and educate the living. Chihongo is the male equivalent of the female mwana pwo mask. The male mask’s feathered headdress, red coloring, scarification patterns, stylized beard, and filed teeth evoke wisdom, leadership, and status. While both mask characters partake in performances during male initiation rites, chihongo appears at other events where a chief’s affirmation is desired.
- Male Face Mask (Chihongo)
- Made 1850–1900
- Wood, raffia, burlap, turaco feathers, guinea fowl feathers, and pigment
- 73.7 × 48.3 cm (29 × 19 in.)
- Restricted gift of Mrs. James W. Alsdorf