African art among the Songye.
This mask streaked with large bands forms a reduced version of the "wooden mask" Kifwebe (plural Bifwebe) of the Songye, the same type of which was produced by the Luba.
The term Kifwebe refers to the mask, the society of masks, and the wearer of the mask belonging to the male secret society bwadi bwa kifwebe which ensured social control.
There are three variants: the masculine (kilume) generally with a high crest, the feminine (kikashi) with a very low or even absent crest, and finally the tallest embodying power (kia ndoshi). Semi-matte patina.
Height on base: 33 cm.
In the 16th century, the Songyes migrated from the Shaba region to settle on the left bank of the Lualaba, in Katanga and Kasai. Their society is organized in a patriarchal way. Their history is inseparable from that of the Luba, to whom they are related through common ancestors.
Very present in their society, divination made it possible to discover sorcerers and to shed light on the causes of the misfortunes that struck individuals. The masked performances of male masks provided an opportunity to carry out punitive expeditions and maintain social order. The female masks, supposed to be equipped with divinatory faculties, activated by their dances the benevolent spirits.
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