African art > African mask, tribal art, primitive art > Songye mask
Songye Kifwebe mask (N° 18995)
The tribal masks of the Songye .
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African mask of the Songye ethnic group, in the south of the Democratic Republic of Congo. Featuring a high sagittal crest, this mask, here of reduced size, is considered masculine, in contrast to the feminine one highlighted by a ridge. The prominent features give it a powerful character. Matt patina, abrasions.
Three variants of this Kifwebe( pl. Bifwebe) or "chasing death"(Roberts)mask can be 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, is worn with a long costume and a long beard made of natural fibers, absent on this example, 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. They are governed by the yakitengé and by local chiefs. 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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|Country||rdc ex zaire|
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