African art > African mask, tribal art, primitive art > Songye mask

Songye Kifwebe mask (N° 20609)

Ex-collection traditional African art African.
The term Kifwebe refers to the mask, the society of masks, and the wearer of the mask belonging to the secret male bwadi bwa kifwebe society that provided social control. There are three variants: the masculine (kilume) usually with a high crest, the feminine (kikashi) with a very low crest or even absent, and finally the largest embodying power (kia ndoshi). Velvety matt patina, abraded. Cracks of desiccation. Height on base: 40 cm. These African masks have holes around their edges so that for the most important ceremonies, a costume can be attached, including a voluminous beard made of natural fibers. The white stripes symbolize the feathers and the link with death. In the sixteenth century, the Songyes migrated from the Shaba region to settle on the left bank of the Lualaba, in Katanga and in Kasai. Their society is organized in a patriarchal manner. Their history is inseparable from that of the Luba to whom they are related through common ancestors. The Songyes have created impressive statues with powerful features that are often used during secret ceremonies, covered with accessories such as feathers, skin and a horn full of magical charge. Very present in their society, divination was used to discover sorcerers and to shed light on the causes of misfortunes that struck individuals. The masked performances of the male masks were an opportunity to carry out punitive expeditions and to maintain social order. The female masks, supposedly endowed with divinatory powers, activated benevolent spirits through their dances.  

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Originex-collection allemande
EthnySongye
Countryrdc ex zaire
Material(s)wood
Height26
Width12
Weight0.67 Kg
Estimated datingmid-xx°
Socle includedYes

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