... This impressive " Mwanaphwo" mask is from the African Museum collection... on 1 December 2013 the museum closed its doors for a three-year renovation period.... when the museum reopens next year, it will have drastically changed in appearance... .I've been there once, on a schooltrip, a very long time ago... I hope to visit it again next year... Belgian post issued a souvenir sheet "Masks of Tervuren" from the Democratic Republic of Congo with 5 large stamps dedicated to this museum... with great special postmark... Héééél erg bedankt Johan voor alweer een leuke verrassing in mijn brievenbus!! (✿ ♥‿♥)
The Royal Museum for Central Africa is an ethnographical and natural history museum in Tervuren, near Brussels. It was first built to showcase King Leopold II's Congo Free State for the 1897 World Exhibition.
It houses collections unique in the world, in particular 180,000 ethnographic objects including many masks.
Mwanaphwo literally means "young woman." Masks like this depict an archetypal ancestral personality who died at a young age. The mask's eyes are rendered as narrow slits, indicative of a dead person. Only male dancers wear these masks; women never do. The masks are used in village performances for boys' initiation, or "coming of age," ceremonies. Such masks also symbolize the prominence women enjoy in the Chokwe's matrilineal society.
ⒸAfrica Museum - Photo: R. Asselberghs
Royal Museum for Central Africa - Tervuren Masks