- Museum number
Mask (chadzunda) for Nyau masquerade made of wood stained black; white surface deposits, especially around ears. Depicts mature male; eyebrows and eyelashes made of cotton cloth, moustache made of skin with attached fur. Eyeballs of paper applied to inside of mask. Teeth made of dried corn secured by black-coloured wax. Deeply furrowed brow, crowsfeet and lines across cheeks. Hair made of skin with fur attached, to which is sewn plastic raffia sacking. Cotton cloths hang at front and side of mask. Ears pierced, decorated with knotted strips of coloured cotton cloth.
- Production date
- 1988 (?)
Height: 50 centimetres
Width: 26 centimetres
Depth: 18.50 centimetres
- Curator's comments
For depictions of Nyau masks in Malawi rock art see:
Chadzunda, a black carved wooden mask represents a village Chief, and is expected to be a portrait, an actual physiognomic likeness of a Chief.
As a leader of the people he represents power in his role as Chief, lineage in the matrilineal succession of the chieftaincy, and unity in keeping the village together as a whole, as one group of related peoples living together. However, his power is not absolute, nor as strong as the neighbouring Ngoni chief, whose rule is firmer. In comparison to Ngoni and other patrilineal society chiefs, Chadzuna reflects a poor chief of little or no account.
Chadzunda is depicted as an old man with deeply carved furrows on his forehead. As a mask form, Chadzunda assumes a senior role of aged wisdom, but at the same time an ageing chief who is likely to be succeeded at any time. Within the social role of this mask there lies an ambiguity, that of a powerful and coveted position of authority and the realisation that the Chew chief is thin, lean and of little authority compared to the war-like strength of their Ngoni neighbours and once-enemies (de Aguilar, 1996:85)
See Collection File Af,1993.09. Collection made by the vendor during periods of fieldwork in Malawi (1985-6,1988,1990 and 1992). Nyau is a men's semi-secret masked association whose major function is to perform major masquerades at funerary ceremonies. Handwritten note (in vendor's script) found inside mask records it was carved after chief who died "four years ago" (ie four years prior to 1992) "and has been used since then". Mask carved by Mr.Dazi. Collected in Nkhoma in 1992.
- Not on display
- Acquisition date
- Africa, Oceania and the Americas
- Registration number