- Museum number
Human face-shaped mask (chadzunda) for Nyau masquerade made of wood covered with black paint ?. Long narrow nose, circular hollowed ears in line with cheeks, wide, open mouth and furrowed brow. Eyes made of silver paper circles applied to front of mask, teeth of same applied inside mask. Hair made of assorted animal skin with animal hair attached. Narrow strap beard made of skin with animal hair attached. Mask has
hemp ruff which runs from ear to ear. Strips of white plastic raffia sacking nailed (metal) to animal skin at back of mask. Short length of knotted rubber runs across back of mask, used to hold mask in place.
- Production date
Height: 77 centimetres
Width: 56 centimetres
Depth: 18 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 masquerades at funerary ceremonies. Mask collected in Dedza town area in 1992.
- Not on display
- Acquisition date
- Africa, Oceania and the Americas
- Registration number