Wednesday, 3 September 2014

New Accessions

This Chokwe dance mask was donated to the Museum by Linda Taylor. Mrs Taylor spent her childhood and teenage years in Northern Rhodesia (now Zambia) and left in 1960 when she was 18 years old. During her time there she collected this mask and kindly donated it to the Pitt Rivers Museum in January 2013. 

Mask being catalogued; 2013.9.1 © Pitt Rivers Museum

The mask is a Mwana Pwo mask depicting a beautiful young woman. Such masks are used in initiation rituals and also danced at the induction of a new chief, fertility rituals, during funerals and for public entertainment. The markings on this particular mask are unusual, which indicates that it is from a border area where other cultures have influenced the Chokwe. It is a well-made mask and is especially interesting because of the cross-cultural influence. Other examples of Mwana Pwo masks can be found in ethnographic collections in Europe and America. 

Faye Belsey 
Assistant Curator

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