About this object

History of use

The mwana pwo masks and costumes represent women, but are worn and danced by men.

Physical description

Mwana pwo dance mask with long reed-like hair. The female face is carved of a single piece of wood; the facial features protrude. The eyes are almost closed, with thin slits; the surrounding eye area is emphasized. The nose is small with a thin bridge, the mouth also small and contains small carved teeth. Facial scarring is indicated under the eyes and across the cheeks. The forehead is decorated in incised motifs and line patterns. Ears a small, each with a large hole in the lobe. Attached to the wood face panel is a thick netting of grass that covers the back of the head, with a braid encircling the chin. Attached to the net by long twists of grass are cut pieces of hollow bamboo reeds, strung on to hang like hair.