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Sachihongo Mask

Unidentified Mbunda artist
20th century
Wood, fiber, and pigment
Possibly associated with
Western province, Southern Africa, Zambia, Africa
North Western province, Southern Africa, Zambia, Africa
Costume & clothing
Current Location
On View, Gallery 117
diameter: 30 in. (76.2 cm)
Credit Line
Partial gift of Thomas Alexander and Laura Rogers, and funds given by the John R. Goodall Charitable Trust, the McMillan-Avery Fund of the St. Louis Community Foundation, Dr. and Mrs. William H. Danforth, Mr. and Mrs. Sam Langsdorf Jr., Mr. and Mrs. Jefferson Miller, Ms. Jane Stamper, the Gateway Apparel Charitable Foundation, Mr. and Mrs. Charles F. Knight, Mr. and Mrs. William F. Schierholz, and donors to the 1993 Art Enrichment Fund
Public Domain
Object Number
This mask represents the great hunter Sachihongo, and is one of a number of beings represented in Mbunda masquerades. Such masks once performed during the "n-khanda" circumcision ceremonies of young men in order to “steal” the boys from their mothers and move them into manhood in the patrilineal system. In a festive environment, the masqueraders celebrated the young men’s coming of age and entertained the mothers who had raised the boys to this stage of their development. Today such maskers perform at weddings, political events, and parties. Although they now perform in secular contexts, the dancers still reinforce a strong sense of ethnic identity.
- 1994
Alexander Gallery, Inc., St. Louis, MO, USA

1994 -
Saint Louis Art Museum, purchase and partial gift of Thomas Alexander and Laura L. Rogers [2]

[1] The main source for this provenance is the shipping record that documents the delivery of the piece on June 25, 1993 from B. C. Holland, Inc. to the Saint Louis Art Museum for consideration as purchase [SLAM document files].

[1] An invoice dated January 28, 1994 from Alexander Gallery, Inc. to the Saint Louis Art Museum documents the purchase of 50% of this object, listed as "8416 Old Mabundu Mask, Angola, Zambia." A Deed of Gift signed by Thomas Alexander on December 11, 1997 documents the gift of the remaining 50% of this object to the Museum [invoice and Deed of Gift in SLAM document files]. Minutes of the Collections Committee of the Board of Trustees, Saint Louis Art Museum, January 19, 1994 and December 11, 1997
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