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Object Name: Mask
Artist: Katoyo reinterpreted as Chikungila (ambiguous ancestor)
Cultural Group: bunda peoples
Place of Origin: Zambia
Date/Era: Late 19th-20th century
Medium/Materials: Wood, plant fiber, cordage
Credit Line: Fowler Museum at UCLA.
Accession Number: X2002.33.14
Lunda elders in northwestern Zambia agreed that this mask was originally made to represent a foreigner but that the division of the mask into halves painted white and red meant that the character had been reinterpreted as Chikungila or Luvwengi. The Chikungila character ?opens its mouth to devour everything, including goats, tables, chairs, and even cars.? At the mukanda camp Chikungila is believed to regurgitate everything, turning it into the food the initiates will eat during their seclusion. The red and white sides illustrate a balance or contrast between the positive (white) and the negative or ominous (red). This is consistent with the nature of ancestral spirits who provide spiritual support if honored, but who may also cause illness and calamity if neglected.
Source: Gallery wall text, Fowler in Focus: Makishi, 2007