African Masks

2616 words 11 pages
CONTENTS

1. FIGURE LIST 3

2. INTRODUCTION 4

2.1 Historical background and information 4

3. CONTEXT OF CEREMONIAL AFRICAN MASKING AND THE BASIC CHARACTERISTICS THEROF 6

3.1 The Makishi Masquerades among the Chokwe and related people 6

3.2 Pwo Mask 7

3.3 The Ngidi and Makanda initiation Rites 8

3.4 Holo Mask 9

3.5 The Bambara tribe of Mali and the Chi Wara antelope Mask 9

4. CONCLUSION 11

5. BIBLIOGROPHY 12

1. FIGURE LIST

Figure Page

Figure 1: Unknown Artist, Pwo Mask, Wood Carving, patina and plant material,

9.5” x 10” x 10”, Private Collection, (Bastin, 1982:91). 7

Figure 2: Unknown Artist, Chi Wara antelope Mask, Wood Carving,
…show more content…
If you look at male initiation in context, ancestral spirits may assume the form of masks to dramatize cosmological[2] principles and assist in transmitting knowledge through generations. The Chokwe people perform over one hundred types of masked masquerades called the Makishi. Makishi represents the spirits of the deceased individuals that return to the world of the living to guide, assist and protect the members of the community (Van Wyk, Garratt & Stepan, 1998:67).

Makishi often serve to authorize and validate social and political institutions, which are generally perceived as the domain of women. The Makishi most often preformed in combination with the mukanda initiation of girls, but they may also appear during annual confirmatory ceremonies. Makishi performances bring to mind the cosmological precepts of the Chokwe and related people. Principles of social and political organisation are presented publically through mukanda masquerades[3]. In these masquerades you will find male and female characters. One of the most important Makishi characters that you will find during initiation ceremonies represents the ideal woman that is called Pwo or Pwevo. The short steps characterize Pwo dances and sensuous hip movements, which are emphasized by a bustle, tied around the hips, consisting of a bundle of cloth, strings and rattling

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