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Creator Name: Chokwe
Creator Nationality: African; Central African; Congolese
Creator Role: Artist
Creator Name-CRT: Chokwe
Title: Mwana Pwo Mask
View: front
Creation Start Date: 1908
Creation End Date: 1912
Creation Date: about 1910
Object Type: Sculpture
Materials and Techniques: wood, raffia, beads
Dimensions: H.7-1/4 (mask); H.10-1/2 x W.10-1/2 in. (headdress)
AMICA Contributor: The Minneapolis Institute of Arts
Owner Location: Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA
ID Number: 86.16
Credit Line: The Putnam Dana McMillan Fund

The Mwana Pwo (young woman) mask represents the female ancestor of the Chokwe people. It embodies ideal feminine beauty and records traditional Chokwe facial scarification patterns.

The Mwana Pwo mask is always worn by a man who is disguised as a woman with a bodysuit, false breasts, and a cotton skirt. In dances performed for the ruler and the entire community, Mwana Pwo is sometimes accompanied by the male ancestor mask, Cihongo. Cihongo symbolizes authority and wealth; Mwana Pwo symbolizes generative power. During the performance, the Mwana Pwo dancer mimics and exaggerates the mannerisms of young Chokwe women.

AMICA ID: MIA_.86.16
Component Measured: overall
Measurement Unit: in
AMICA Library Year: 1998
Media Metadata Rights: ?The Minneapolis Institute of Arts

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