Initiation MaskArtist(s)ChokweArtist NationalityChokwe (culture or style)Object Creation Date1900-1970Medium & Supportbark cloth, cotton and paintDimensions
52 3/4 in (134 cm)Credit LineGift of Mr. and Mrs. Chet H. LaMoreLabel copy
Worn during male initiation rites called Mukanda, this mask, Chizuka, is believed to represent the chief's ancestral spirit. Masked rituals are an important feature of the Mukanda, or initiation during which boys are circumcised and subjected to a series of tests that mark their passage into adult male society. Chikuza is the most important spirit at the Mukanda ceremonies. It is purposefully grotesque, for as a representation of supreme authority, it is meant to terrify. In the course of the dance, Chikuza uses a willow whip to chase away the uninitiated and to chastise boys not properly serious about the rites.Primary Object Classification Costume and Costume Accessories Primary Object TypemaskCollection AreaAfricanRights
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