This mask caught my eye immediately. Although this mask is from Zambia, its beaded headdress reminds me of head pieces typical of Ethiopian and Eritrean women. I love that buttons are a common hallmark of African beadwork.
The well-balanced proportions of this mask-its rounded contours and finely defined ears, nose, and lips-lend it a portrait-like quality, and carvers are sometimes inspired by the appearance of a particular woman. This mask may honor a female ancestor, or it may represent Kalunda, a character who stands for the beauty and elegance of all Lunda women. The colorful beadwork and button decoration on this mask indicates wealth and maturity. Mothers and other female relatives of mukanda initiates wear this type of beadwork in their hair during initiation ceremonies.
Pwevo or Kalunda (woman or Lunda woman)
Late 19th-20th century
Wood, plant fiber, beads, buttons