This African mask Songye would embody a positive force. The half-closed palpebral slits are stretched toward the temples, with the nose and mouth projecting rectangularly. The nasofrontal crest, the eyes and the chin band are raised in black. Grooves are etched in alternating diamonds on the matte surface. Abrasions.
Three variants of this Kifwebe mask( pl. Bifwebe) or "chasing death"(Roberts),of the society of the same name, are distinguished: the masculine (kilume) generally with a high crest, the feminine (kikashi) with a very low crest or even absent, and finally the largest embodying power (kia ndoshi). This type of mask, still used today, seems to come from the border area between the Northern Luba and the Songye of the Southeast. They are worn by a Kifwebe dancer in a state of "bwadi" trance. They are worn by a Kifwebe dancer in a state of "bwadi" trance, accessorized with a long woven costume and a long natural fiber ornament attached to the contours of the mask, during major ceremonies. The Songye came from the Shaba region of the DRC and settled along the Lualaba River in the middle of the savannah and forests. The masks of the Eastern Luba are similar. The Bwami secret society, however, counterbalances their power. Their male masks, with occult powers, were displayed during punitive and disciplinary expeditions.
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