X2002.33.4 Mask

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Pwevo reinterpreted as Mwana Pwevo or Chiwigi (young woman)
Luvale peoples
Late 19th-20th century
Wood, plant fiber, cordage, beads
H: 37.0 cm, W: 27.0 cm, D: 26.0 cm (H: 14.6 in, W: 10.6 in, D: 10.2 in)
Museum purchase with funds provided by Jay T. Last.X2002.33.4



The elaborate facial scarification marks on this female mask would usually indicate a mature woman. Hairstyles, however, are also important in distinguishing the intended demeanor and age of a specific character. The wig-like hair used on this mask is commonly associated with a woman in her youth. This style of long, straight wig is considered a ”modern” commodity, and women who wear it may be perceived as beautiful and stylish or as vane and shallow. In this case it is probable that the mask was originally conceived as a woman, Pwevo, and later reinterpreted as a young woman, Mwana Pwevo or Chiwigi.