Mbunda People, E. Angola/W Zambia
This rare hardwood mask represents Sachihongo, a hunter with bow and arrows, who is the only masquerade figure of the Mbunda to wear a wooden mask. Sachihongo has been described as the incarnation of a powerful hunter, a diviner and a womanizer. It is symbolic of maleness, power, fertility, and wealth. The crown of feathers that would have been attached to the mask is an indication of its chiefly character and its supernatural abilities. Sachihongo masks belong to the six most important of the 22 masquerade characters of the Mbundas of eastern Angola and western Zambia. Originally the mask was used during a boy’s initiation or Mukhanda. The mask, which is viewed by non-initiates as an embodiment of ancestor spirits, appears in bush camp after the circumcision of the neophytes during their recovery period. It is also danced in the village, where they dance to songs sung by male and female onlookers.