Skip to Content
Today Open today 11–5

Male Face Mask (Chihongo)

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

Image actions

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


Mid–late 19th century


Angola or Democratic Republic of the Congo
Central Africa

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.


On View, Gallery 137


Arts of Africa




Male Face Mask (Chihongo)


Angola (Object made in)

Date  Dates are not always precisely known, but the Art Institute strives to present this information as consistently and legibly as possible. Dates may be represented as a range that spans decades, centuries, dynasties, or periods and may include qualifiers such as c. (circa) or BCE.

Made 1850–1900


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


73.7 × 48.3 cm (29 × 19 in.)

Credit Line

Purchased with funds provided by Mrs. James W. Alsdorf

Reference Number


IIIF Manifest  The International Image Interoperability Framework (IIIF) represents a set of open standards that enables rich access to digital media from libraries, archives, museums, and other cultural institutions around the world.

Learn more.

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 . Information about image downloads and licensing is available here.


Sign up for our enewsletter to receive updates.

Learn more

Image actions