The Chewa people in Malawi, SE Africa, make my favorite masks. They are very creative and have a sense of humor. Even better, they are constantly practicing masquerade, which means authentic masks are readily available at affordable prices. You can see and read about five other Chewas on this site. On our front page (1) hit the magnifying glass icon, (2) type “chewa” and (3) hit Enter. Unfortunately, I don’t own the Elvis Presley mask. It’s in the Brooklyn Museum.
Malawi is a country rich in the different cultures of its diverse population. One of the most unique and interesting cultural events that attracts a lot of interest from tourists and Malawi citizens alike is the Gule Wamkulu. The Gule Wamkulu is performed by the Chewa and Mang’anja tribes and is associated with heavily carved masks, feathers and skin paint. It is an important event in Malawian culture. Gule are considered to be in an animal state when they are dressed in such attire, and are not to be approached. In their animal or ancestral state, they are unpredictable. Gule Wamkulu”, literally meaning “big dance”, have become a sort of title for secret societies of traditional Chewa religious practices. The Gule Wamkulu ceremonies consist of formally organized dances to admire the remarkable physical abilities of these individuals – considered to be adept at their dance as a result of their spiritual state. 1790