Pwo mask, Chokwe, Angola
The collection of twenty-two handmade artifacts represents tradition pieces of tribal life south of the Sahara in West, Central, and East Africa. All pieces are made of wood, though the Mahongwe reliquary has brass sheets and wires wrapped over a wooden core. The age of each piece is uncertain, however the lifespan of wood in village life suggest an age of up to one hundred years.
The function of the masks, shrine figures, ancestor posts, and the reliquary perform roles unique to their tribe and country. As a broad generalization, all of these pieces serve their community’s welfare, either to initiate the young, to promote fertility and health and insure the community’s future, to increase the harvest of food, to redress social or political wrongs, or, to give honor to the ancestors and act as intercessors between the spirit world and the lives of the living, .
Each item in the Collection is identified by its function, tribe, and country of orign.
Tuesday - Friday
7:30 a.m. - 3:30 p.m.
All materials in Archives & Special Collections can be found on the 4th floor of Dayton Memorial Library, Room 401. All researchers are welcome; an appointment is advised. To ensure access to the Archives and Special Collections, contact Elizabeth Cook for an appointment.