This wood mask is a one of a kind mask, hand carved by the artists of the Democratic Republic of Congo.
This is a Chokwe mask. The Chokwe people can be found living in Angola, Zambia and Democratic Republic of Congo. They are a relatively recent African civilization formed by intermarriage of two neighboring tribes. Therefore, the Chokwe can be found in small tribal groups occupying a wide area.
This is a female mask is of the Mwana Pwo class. It is an attendant counterpart of the male Chihongo mask but it serves different purposes. This mask celebrates the female beauty ideals and is associated with prayers for fertility and hunting success. It is also danced by male masqueraders in such a way that female personal grooming and grace are extolled and encouraged.
The cruciform tattoo made of triangles carved on the forehead is known as cingelyengelye. This cross dates back to the necklace crosses made from tin plates distributed among the Chokwe people in the 17th century by Capuchin monks from the Order of Christ of Portugal. These crosses were worn by the Chokwe as amulets and have become part of the people's traditions.
The plaited hairdo can be found worn by Chokwe women. It is called tota and covered in red earth. Its importance to the Chokwe female beauty grooming necessitates its addition to the mask despite the intricate coiffure already carved in. It is made long because long hair is deemed a highlight of beauty.
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I received the shipment in perfect condition and the packing was the best I have ever received! Impressive is an understatement. I am real happy with the Toma mask it exceeded my expectations. Thank you for the great service and follow up phone calls Tim. Its a pleasure to deal with professionals!!
Thank you and take care.
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