X2002.33.5 Mask

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Mwana Pwevo or Chiwigi (young woman)
Chokwe peoples
Late 19th-20th century
Wood, plant fiber, yarn, beads, cordage
H: 29.0 cm , W: 26.0 cm, D: 14.0 cm (H: 11.4 in, W: 10.2 in, D: 5.5 in)
Museum purchase with funds provided


This character may represent a young woman, Mwana Pwevo. More specifically, the abundant wig-like hair may have been used to identify her as Chiwigi, a stylish or vane young woman, when the mask was last performed. The name Chiwigi is derived from the English word ”wig.” This mask’s slightly opened, convex eyelids set within large concave eye sockets are Chokwe in style, and the scarification mark represented on the forehead is the chingelyengelye, a symbol of Chokwe identity. The open mouth, to which sticks were once added as teeth, is more of a Luvale or Luchazi mask-making convention, however, illustrating the merging of carving styles.