This page is a record of an exhibit that took place
in 1997. The individual links below will take you to
the CURRENT VERSION of the pages
that formed part of that exhibit.

OCT. 3 - NOV. 29, 1997

"Art of the Chokwe", shows the high level of craftsmanship and aesthetics of the traditional work of the Chokwe people of Angola. Many and varied masks, most with elaborate headdresses, dominate the show but are balanced by figures, drums and other artifacts.

Masks representing ideal young female beauty, Mwana Pwo, are among the most elegant and delicately carved in Africa. Their serene expression commands respect and help support the authority of Chokwe rulers. Most share the depiction of facial scarification patterns, filed teeth, fanciful and inventive hairstyles, tear motifs and cruciform markings on the forehead, creating distinctive Chokwe heads. Male masks, Chihongo, depicting a powerful and wealthy man, are identified by the horizontal ridge-like beard. They are danced with the Mwana Pwo to bring fertilitry and prosperity to the community.

Figures of the legendary hunter-hero Tschibinda Ikunda, ancestor of all Chokwe chiefs, are shown with elaborate ceremonial headdresses. Other figures, masks, traditional double-headed drums and selected artifacts complete this powerful and compelling exhibition.