- Museum number
Face-shaped mask (chadzunda) for Nyau masquerade made of wood covered with black paint. Eyeballs of paper applied to inside of mask. Moustache and beard of animal hair. Eyebrows of fleecy synthetic fabric. Back of mask covered with animal hair, cotton cloths sewn with fibre cord to bottom of skin at back of mask. Further cotton cloths attached to front of mask below chin. Strips of brown synthetic fabric hang on either side of mask. Metal coathanger, painted white, protrudes from top of skin, rest of coathanger bent inside mask.
- Production date
Height: 81 centimetres
Width: 33 centimetres
Depth: 19 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 a period of fieldwork in Malawi; mask collected in 1985; vendor states approximately 27 years old. Previous owner married into Dedza area from Bunda. Nyau is a men's semi-secret masked association whose major function is to perform masquerades at funerary ceremonies.
- Not on display
- Acquisition date
- Africa, Oceania and the Americas
- Registration number