Democratic Republic of Congo/Angola, of classical form, covered in red pigment with black highlights; pierced nose and powerful elongated and abstracted mouth. height 9 3/4in
Provenance: Marc Felix
Exhibited: Governors State University, IL, 2003 Krannert Art Museum, IL, 2003 Belger Art Foundation/University of Missouri-Kansas City, MO, 2004 Tall Grass Art Association, IL, 2005
Published: Bourgeois and Rodolitz, REMNANTS OF RITUAL: SELECTIONS FROM THE GELBARD COLLECTION OF AFRICAN ART, Ethnos, New York, 2003, p.43, fig.97
This mask would have been the facial portion only of a much more extensive costume. The masquerader would have also worn a headdress made of stork feathers, a net body covering, and a dance skirt that jutted out at the sides made of loose raffia fibers. This mask is unusual among Chokwe masks in that its face is carved out of wood rather than made of constructed materials, yet it is similar to the mwanaphwo mask, its female counterpart with which it performs. Both emphasize noble status. Chihongo was formerly reserved for the chief himself or one of his sons and functioned as an instrument of justice and social control. The protruding chin signifies its elderly rank.