Ex-French African art collection.
The mouth of this African mask formed of a rectangular block emerges in a quadrangular projection. The nose pierced with nostrils extends into a crest at the top. Similar in appearance to certain Songye masks, it did not, however, have the same function. These African masks called "bifwebe" appeared during funerals and investitures. The surface is streaked with lines coated with kaolin.
Abraded matte patina.
They occurred during the ritual ceremonies of the Kazanzi society, responsible for combating witchcraft. "Bifwebe" (Sing.: kifwebe) would also mean, according to C. Faïk-Nzuji, "chasing away death". Worn with a voluminous raffia collar that concealed the dancer, this mask was generally danced in the company of a zoomorphic mask. Among the Luba, white is synonymous with a relationship with the spiritual world, through the evocation of the moon, which is evoked by the circular shape of the object.
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