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.
Currently Off View
- Arts of Africa
- Male Face Mask (Chihongo)
- 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