- Museum number
Mask (kan'gwin'gwi) for Nyau masquerade made of hemp ? sacking daubed with mud and decorated with linear designs in black paint. Mask is of conical shape with a seam at back. Eyes, nose and mouth of kapok ? with additional black paint decoration. Line of kapok runs from nose terminating on forehead in two curved horn shapes. Mask surmounted by tuft of skin with attached hair and second tuft of sisal stained black.
- Production date
Height: 56 centimetres
Width: 29.50 centimetres
Depth: 7.50 centimetres
- Curator's comments
For depictions of Nyau masks in Malawi rock art see:
Kan’gwin’gwi (to have shooting pains along the limbs) are masked messengers that deliver the news to villages of the death of the namkungwi, the senior woman of the village community (de Aguilar, 1996:154).
The messengers are covered in layers of green banana tree leaves. And their faces are covered in cloth and hide, made by the individual dancer. Kan’gwin’gwi runs from village to village, dancing at each place for few coins, and tells in his falsetto high-pitched voice that there is a funeral the next day. Several dancers are set in different directions to inform their neighbours. Through the performance of dance and song, the news is conveyed (de Aguilar, 1996:155).
See Collection File Af,1993.09. Collection made by the vendor during periods of fieldwork in Malawi (1985-6,1988,1990 & 1992). Nyau is a men's semi-secret masked association whose major function is to perform masquerades at funerary ceremonies. Mask made during dance season, collected in 1992.
- Not on display
- Acquisition date
- Africa, Oceania and the Americas
- Registration number