X2002.33.1 Mask

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Pwevo (woman)
Ovimbundu, Luchazi, or Luvale people
Late 19th-20th century
Wood, plant fiber, bone
H: 24.3 cm, W: 16.2 cm, D: 7.5 cm (H: 9.6 in, W: 6.4 in, D: 2.9 in)
Museum purchase with funds provided by Jay T. Last. X2002.33.1


Fowler in Focus. The scarification mark on the forehead of this mask is commonly found on figures made by Ovimbundu peoples in their homeland of Angola. Ovimbundu are the westernmost neighbors of the peoples considered here, and they share with them cultural traits including mukanda initiations. The Ovimbundu have long been engaged in the trade of goods between the African interior and the Angolan coast. With the exchange of ideas that such trade entails, it is not uncommon to find Zambian, Luvale, Luchazi, or Mbunda carvers incorporating the same scarification mark in their masks. In Zambia and Angola this forehead symbol is described as the ”footprint of a chicken.”