Mask of a female ancestor "pwo", Chokwe, Angola.

Ancestral masks, or "makishi", instruct novices in "mukanda" initiation camps, and also perform theatrically in village performances that represent aspects of Chokwe cosmology. As tutelary spirits the "makishi" bring their positive influence into the villages, and faciliate the transitions that young boys must undergo to acquire privileged knowledge and prepare for adult life.

This is a fine ancestor mask with broad face with prominent modelled chin area, carved teeth in the pierced mouth, a small nose with plug, tear scarifications on the cheeks, typical cross tattoo on the forehead and crowned by a turban-like coiffure arranged in sharp cut horizontal grooves.

Wood, reddish and blackish patina, slightly dam., minor missing parts, place of repair backside in the chin area (see pictures), paint rubbed off; on wood and metal base.

Height: 29 cm - 11.4 inch. Widest point 21 cm - 8.2 inch.

Provenance: Michel Gaud, Saint Tropez, France. Belgian Collection.