- Museum number
Mask (kapoli) for Nyau masquerade made of assorted feathers, bound together into small bundles and attached to fibre strings. These strings are knotted together to form an openwork net structure. Bundles of coloured wool also attached to the fibre framework. Mask narrows towards top, surmounted by unevenly coiled metal wire onto which feathers are secured, this coil is itself topped by two bundles of pink plastic raffia threads.
- Production date
Height: 75 centimetres
Width: 47 centimetres
Depth: 23 centimetres
- Curator's comments
For depictions of Nyau masks in Malawi rock art see:
Kapoli is likened to Kachipapa and Kasinja as one of the masked dancers who can “talk”; they sing their own songs and can say what they like without retribution. Kapoli joins the messenger Kan’gwin’gwi in teasing play with the younger women who help prepare for the funeral of namkungwi, the senior woman of the village community (de Aguilar, 1996:159).
The masked dancers appear in the bwalo (ritual space) for the dance performances and where they engage in a game, moving stones collected by the women for the grave site around the bwalo space. The masked dancers will chase the women around the bwalo, the women always watching over their shoulders, prepared to rush away of the masked dancer moves to close. Throughout there is laughter and chatter among the women and sexual taunting between the masked dancers and the women in the form of chase and dance, and general excitement in the game (de Aguilar, 196:160)
See Collection File Af,1993.09. Collection made by the vendor during a period of fieldwork in Malawi, in 1992. Nyau is a men's semi-secret masked association whose major function is to perform masquerades at funerary ceremonies. Mask made by Mr.Stashon for 1992 dance season.
- Not on display
- Acquisition date
- Africa, Oceania and the Americas
- Registration number