- Museum number
Face-shaped mask (chadzunda) for Nyau masquerade made of wood painted black. Eyeballs and teeth of paper applied to inside of mask. Furrowed brow, long narrow nose and large circular ears. Eyebrows and remains of moustache made of brown synthetic fur fabric secured with resin ?. Hair made of skin with attached fur covers back of mask. Black synthetic fabric, sewn with fibre thread through holes in mask, hangs behind. Patterned nylon cloth similarly attached hangs below chin. White-painted metal wire forming hook pierces skin at top of mask, continues into back of mask.
- Production date
Height: 68.50 centimetres
Width: 31.50 centimetres
Depth: 13 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 & 1992). Nyau is a men's semi-secret masked association whose major function is to perform masquerades at funerary ceremonies. Collected from Chief Kumisu in 1985.
- Not on display
- Acquisition date
- Africa, Oceania and the Americas
- Registration number