- Museum number
Human face-shaped mask (ngan'gande) for Nyau masquerade made of wood painted red. Deeply lined face; eyebrows, moustache, beard, hair, top-knot and outer eye of black synthetic fur fabric. Eyeballs and teeth made of paper applied to inside of mask. Hair is parted on left proper. Top-knot is surmounted with bundle of assorted feathers. Fur fabric is lined with plastic raffia sacking which is attached by means of threads passing through holes in the mask. Drawstring of twisted plastic cord runs through lower edge of sacking. Floral cotton cloths hang from fur fabric at front and back.
- Production date
Height: 90 centimetres
Width: 20.90 centimetres
Depth: 16.70 centimetres
- Curator's comments
For depictions of Nyau masks in Malawi rock art see:
Ngan'gande belongs to the senior mask family; the family of the Chief. Ngan'gande is the eldest son, and is likened to the nduna, the sub-chief or supporter to the higher Chief. In another sense he is also a senior relative, or more specifically, a kind of mother’s brother in relation to the next young man in age and importance: Kadyankhadze - Ngan'gande’s father’s sister’s son. In his role as the Chief’s eldest son, he is depicted as a man who is strong and mature in age.
This genre of mask is characterised by the wearing of a chitenji, a woman’s skirt, and dancing with the women. Ngan'gande can be depicted as handsome and attractive to women, and the ladies enjoy his company, especially when he dances with them, as he does in the Gulu Wamkulu performance; he indicates his association with women by wearing the chitenji.
The masked character of Ngan'gande teases the women with sexual overtones, but is playful and well-liked. He is also described as being strong, tough and a brave man in the eyes of women. However, he is also a man who in full maturity has not married, and remained in his mother’s village (de Aguilar, 1996:86)
See Collection File Af,1993.09. Collection made by the vendor during periods of fieldwork in Malawi (1985-6,198,1990 and 1992). Nyau is a men's semi-secret masked association whose major function is to perform masquerades at funerary ceremonies. Carved by Mr.
Dazi in 1992. Vendor states mask portrays deceased chief who was remembered as being very handsome. Collected in 1992.
- Not on display
- Acquisition date
- Africa, Oceania and the Americas
- Registration number