Tchokwe Mask



This mask is the Mwana Pwo mask. This mask impersonates the ideal women - female ancestor who encourages fertility, it represents a young woman freshly emerged from the initiation schools in the bush and ready for marriage. Although Mwana Pwo represents a woman and a female role model, she is created by men and performs in events related to male initiation (mukanda). Women attend to these ceremonies and accept this male concept of the ideal female, if they feel the performance honors them, but they may stop a dancer performing if they feel that he is not up to their standards. Through the Mwana Pwo, men celebrate the vital social role of the fulfilled woman and the special importance of mothers for the well-being of the initiation camp. In the initiation camps boys are taught by their parents, grand parents and guardians the principles of social responsibility, including history, religion, sexuality, morality and cosmology. However, mukanda also highlight gender tensions because it signals the separation of the boys from their mothers. Mwana Pwo speaks on behalf of all women in the community, and particularly for the mothers of the initiates, who are as interested in the accomplishments of their sons as the men in charge of mukanda

Mwana pwo mask appears at the initiation and circumcision ceremonies of young boys. The men wearing these masks wore knitted clothes to which were attached artificial breasts. Mwana Pwo also dances at the induction of a new chief, at funerals and fertility rituals, and during public entertainment.

Wood , Cloth , Braided fibers

Height : 11″ (27.9cm)