Art and Initiation in Western Zambia

by Manuel Jordán
Musical Instrument Museum (formerly Birmingham Museum of Art)

Mask representing a Lunda female chief, Chokwe peoples, Chitofu Village, Zambia, 1991. Photo by Manuel Jordán.

Chokwe artists still create figurative sculptures and masks to commemorate Lweji and Chibinda Ilunga as culture heroes. This double-faced ancestral mask represents Lweji. The Chokwe artist who created this mask explained that of the two faces, “one looks at the past while the other looks ahead towards the future.” In its performance Lweji educates the community about history while demonstrating chiefly manners and moral values. The mask was constructed from bent branches to which cloth was added to model its facial features. This is a Chokwe ancestral mask representing a Lunda female chief, Lweji in Chitolu Village, Zambia, 1991. The mask was made and performed by Mr. Bernard Mukuta Samukinji.