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Gallery Ezakwantu

African Art  - Art Africain - Tribal Art -  菲洲艺术 - Afrikanische Kunst


Central and Southern African Tribal Art





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The Wali Ceremony

Images of the Mwali ceremony - Circa 1990 - Western Zambia.





Traditional African body paint and scarification.


These images were taken in the early 1990's at a Wali ceremony, north west of Kabompo.

Girls of Chokwe, Ila, Luchazi, Mbunda, Luvale and Luchazi origins celebrate the coming of age. The initiates are known as Mwali. They are secluded in huts called nkunka. The event is as widespread as the boys mukanda, but conducted on a more individual basis at the beginning at first menstruation. The teacher organizes the girls scarification, stretching of her labia and applies body paints, intended to fashion the perfect woman. The scarification is applied to her abdomen to emphasize her role in childbearing.


It happens that the Katemokavamwali is danced at the boys mukanda .



                   Ila Speaking Girl with a Katemokavamwali - Zambia                                   Initialled Underside


Miniature hoes called Katemokavamwali were danced at female imitations called mwali in Angola, DRC - Congo and Western Zambia. Katemokavamwali literally means the hoe of the female initiate. Katemo is hoe,  vamwali is of (va) women (mwali) or female initiate... so; Katemo ka vamwali.




This object is available from Galerie Ezakwantu at the Status Objects page.



For the most part blades were carved from wood or forged by an ironsmith. This example has a wooden blade, was once part of the Southern African Heinz Papen Collection and most likely dates to 1900 -1920.



Visit our Scarification - Piercing - Stretching - Filing - Mutilation and Cranial Deformation pages.











Galerie Ezakwantu

Southern African Tribal Art - African Art 


Central and Southern African Tribal Art


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