Wednesday, February 23

Is It Halloween?

I think most African masks are fascinating. Today, I discovered Randafricanart.com, which has an awesome catalog of masks from Zambia and her neighbors. There is also a lot of high-quality, easy-to-understand information in the accompanying text.

Chokwe Mask (image courtesy of randafricanart.com)

I have a mask just like this mask hanging on a wall at home. Before today, I didn't know the mask is a "Pwo" mask, meaning it represents a woman. (I had just been told it was from Angola.) Of course, the long hair, almond-shaped eyes, and slender nose should have given it away. However -- and the website never mentions this -- Pwo masks look severe, threatening, war-like: just look at the sharp teeth!

I think it's interesting (but not altogether surprising) that in such a patriarchal society, female masks are so terrifying.

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