Pwo mask, Luchazi
Luchazi people, Western Zambia, 20th century
Wood, beads, fabric, fiber, string
Height : 24 cm
Provenance : Private collection, France
Publication : "Masken"
(M. Doustar, 2015), n°19
According to Marc Leo Felix, this very fine mask originates from the Luchazi people of Zambia. It is a semi-helmet mask that was worn attached on top of the head of the male dancer during Mukanda ceremonies of male initiation. However, it represents a female ancestor of idealized beauty, called Pwevo, or Pwo in Chokwe neighbouring territories. Of rounded shape with delicate features, the mask bears rare kangongo scarification marks, including a series of dots that runs from the forehead to the tip of the nose, vijingo rosette motifs on the cheekbones, and short dotted lines known as mupila marks extending from the corners of the eyes towards the ears. The headdress, of unusual type, is made of fabric stretched on bamboo stems, and fixed with leather or animal skin, string, fibers, and decorated with rows of old and precious beads. A close look at the back of the mask, inside the headdress, shows traces of xylophagous insects and a deep patina indicating the mask was stored in the village for a long period, and used intermittently during the initiations.
Price : 4.500 euros