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    Description

    Chokwe (Angola or Democratic Republic of the Congo, Central Africa)
    Mwana pwo face mask
    Wood, pigment, fiber and glass
    Height: 13 inches

    Chokwe masks of wood, as opposed to those of bark cloth, have lost much of their former sacred ancestral import. Today, they are worn primarily for secular entertainment. Human face masks depict males, or females, as typified by this carving. The female type (mwana pwo) embodies the beautiful young woman. As is common in Africa, the male masker depicts a woman wearing wooden breasts, female dress, and dances with female gestures.

    This carving is typical of female masks in its idealized facial features, red, white and black pigment and the incorporation of standard facial scarification. There is only part of the original fiber headpiece in place; the mask would have had a full fiber coiffure element, a wig, on top of the head. The masker's body would have been concealed with a netted garment.

    The interior of these masks does not typically show wear and patination associated with contact with human skin because they are worn as part of elaborate superstructures, often above the face, and generally do not come in direct contact with the wearer. This fine, classic example is in excellent condition with good age.

    PROVENANCE:
    Benjamin Bernstein collection, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.


    Condition Report*: Condition report available upon request.
    *Heritage Auctions strives to provide as much information as possible but encourages in-person inspection by bidders. Statements regarding the condition of objects are only for general guidance and should not be relied upon as complete statements of fact, and do not constitute a representation, warranty or assumption of liability by Heritage. Some condition issues may not be noted in the condition report but are apparent in the provided photos which are considered part of the condition report. Please note that we do not de-frame lots estimated at $1,000 or less and may not be able to provide additional details for lots valued under $500. All lots are sold "AS IS" under the Terms & Conditions of Auction.

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    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    May, 2014
    16th Friday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 7
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
    Page Views: 1,235

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