Lovale Chisaluke mask, Zambia or Angola
pitch, fibers, wood, fur, animal hide, felt
10" tall (mask only)
15" tall from bottom of hood to top of mask
12" wide, 10" deep
ex private Italian collection
ex. private Belgian collection


This wonderful mask from the mid 20th century has been
well preserved. There is some minor loss to the
pitch, leather and felt that cover the wooden form of the
mask. The three protruding lumps on the top of the
forehead are interpreted as "wrinkles". The teeth are inset
leather and the rim of the mask is made of animal hair.
The mask and burlap hood, also covered in pitch, were
once attached to a hand-woven costume that would have
covered the neck and the rest of the body. The wearer often
carried a large walking stick as well.
For additional detail click on any thumbnail to see the high resolution version of the image which will open in a new window.
"This mask represents Chisaluke, a male ancestral spirit that appears towards the end of the mukanda male
initiation to review and refine the dancing skills of the initiates. Each initiate may have his own
Chisaluke serving
as his own tutelary spirit.
Chisaluke is received in the village by women as a heroic character. In some initiations
Chisaluke jumps over the seated initiates to conclude the mukanda-related events."