Wood, fine patina from age, fiber, raffia, remains of original pigment. Masks such as this were used in theatrical performance that accompanies Pende Mukanda initiation. This includes some sixty characters in a variety of masks and costumes, some of which were believed to have magical and curative powers. This mask, called Giwoyo, distinguished by its elongated wooden beard, emerges at dusk. Representing the ancestor, Giwoyo is a bridge between the visible and invisible, sacred and profane, living and dead, traditional and new.
According to the Pende oral tradition, their original territory was near Luanda in Angola. Warfare, as well as pressures caused by slavery, impelled the Pende to begin their migration away from the coast by the early sixteenth century. By the early eighteenth century they had reached the areas in which they live today. Some scholars have suggested that the Giwoyo mask originated after the first encounters with bearded European missionaries before the beginning of the eighteen century in what is now Angola.
Signs of use, some damage.
H: 44,5 cm (17 1/2 inch).
Bourgeois, Arthur and Rodolitz, S. (2003) Remnants of Ritual: Selections from The Gelbard Collection of African Art.
For additional information please contact S.A. Gallery.
Regional & Ethnic Antiques