This African kifwebe mask (pl.bifwebe), whose stripes are relatively wide and deep, has an animal character. The reduced crest extends from a short nose, separating the horizontal eyelids, stretched towards angular temples. A wide space separates the nose from a mouth of which only the lower lip forms a spectacular dark projection, seeming to engage the chin, and whose tint runs on the neck in a wide band.
These masks were produced during different traditions: investitures, funerals, and rites against witchcraft in different initiation societies. In the eastern part of the Luba region, important ceremonies take place in honor of the clan's ancestors, deceased chiefs, and the new moon. They indeed had some zoomorphic masks associated with the kifwebe dance. They occurred during the ritual ceremonies of the kazanzi society, responsible for combating witchcraft. Offerings are then granted to the spirits of nature, intermediaries between the group and the ancestors.
Matte patina. Erosions.
Formerly subject to the Luba, then to the Lundas, the Zela have adopted a large part of their customs and traditions. Established between the Luvua River and Lake Kisalé, they are now organized into four chiefdoms under the supervision of leaders of Luba origin. They venerate a primordial couple frequently represented in statuary, mythical ancestors, and dedicate offerings to the spirits of nature.
Ref. : "Luba" 5 Continents. Roberts; "Kifwebe" F. Neyt, ed. 5Continents.
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