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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:Nyau masks of the Chewa: an oral historical introduction; Masks in social roles; Masks: outsiders and socio-historical experience
Author:Aguilar, Laurel Birch deISNI
Periodical:The Society of Malawi Journal
Geographic term:Malawi
External links:https://www.jstor.org/stable/29778713
Abstract:The Chewa people of central Malawi have retained one of the continent's great masking traditions, Gule Wamkulu (Great Dance). The Gule Wamkulu is performed for funerals, funeral remembrances, and for the initiations of boys and girls, as well as for the selection of a new chief, and for the consecration of his ritual and meeting space. In each performance, there are masked forms which are recognizable as a specific type, character or genre, with a specific name. In the course of field research in 1985, 1988, 1990 and 1992, the author, who was herself initiated into the (generally male) 'nyau' society which produces the masks and performs the dance, identified a number of these masks. In the present series of three articles, she introduces the variety of masks and the kinds of understandings associated with them, studies masks in relation to one another and in relation to the village community, and reconstructs Chewa historical experience from the interpretations of masks today. Notes, ref.