Mwila Head Rest & Otjize Vessel - Southern Angola

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Unusual Early 20th Cen Mwila Head Rest & Otjize Vessel in Combination. Specifications: 16.5 x 11 x 6.5 cm  Origin: Angola (see ethnographic notes below) Medium: Timber Carving, Pigment  Comments: Fine original patina, no restoration.  Context: Otize is a lotion made of butterfat and ochre which is applied to the skin. Provenance: Private Collection: Cape Town.


Mwila or Mwela people are a cluster of semi-nomadic ethnic group living in southern Angola, in the area of Huila. Mwila people actually belongs to the larger Nyaneka-Khumbi (Nhaneka-Humbe) amalgamated ethnic inhabiting the Haumpata Plateau and along the headwaters of Rio Caculovar in South Western Angola in Huila Planato or Huila Province, the province that takes it name from the people.


The Mwela (Mwila) dilect speaking people of Nyaneka-Humbe (the first group is also spelled Haneca; the latter group is also spelled Nkumbi) include Mwila (which comprises Muila, Huila, and Quila and are together referred to as Mumuila by some historians and anthropologists) and lesser tribes of Jau, Humpata, and Kihita (Quinhita) as well as the Mwila-Gambwe tribes.

Mwila people are famous for keeping to their traditional African culture as exhibited in their stylish hairstyles, unique way of putting up dresses and how they specially adorn their body with ornaments (jewelleries).

Mwila people are of Bantu origin and are said to be one of the earliest Bantu people to undertake the Great Bantu migration to domicile in their present location in Angola.