- Museum number
Face-shaped dance-mask (chadzunda) for Nyau masquerade made of wood painted black. Eyebrows, moustache, beard and temples of animal fur. Eyeballs of paper applied to inside of mask, teeth of corn kernels. Eyes lined with synthetic fabric, painted black. Hair made of stained sisal. Floral cotton cloths attached to inside of mask at top and around chin. White-painted metal coathanger protrudes through sisal backing, rest of hanger is bent inside mask.
- Production date
Height: 48 centimetres
Width: 27.50 centimetres
Depth: 16.50 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.Collected by the vendor during a period of fieldwork in Malawi, in 1988. Danced with another mask as a pair. 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