African art > Head rest > Songye neck support

Luba/Songye neck support (N° 17306)

A caryatid figure, in a crouching position, supports with his arms widely deployed the tray of this neck support. The effigy is depicted wearing a female songy mask named kikashi, still in use today. This type of mask is worn during initiations with a long suit and a beard made of natural fibers.
ne black-brown oiled. br-Used as a pillow to preserve the user's hair arrangements, the African neck rest forms a tribal object adorned with different iconographies embodying spiritual forces that are supposed to influence dreams. Some Luba regions have also produced sculptures inspired by songye, sharing many traditions with them.

Sye came from the Shaba region of the DRC and settled between the Lualaba River and the Sankuru River in the middle of the savannah and forests. They are governed by the Yakitengé and local chiefs. The secret society Bwadi, however, counterbalances their power. Their male masks, with occult powers, were displayed in punitive and disciplinary expeditions. Their appearances remained linked to divinatory and socio-political objectives. (Luba, F. Neyt)  

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OriginRécolté in si-situ 1986
Countryrdc ex zaire
Height cm19
Depth7 cm
Width13 cm
Weight0.55 Kg

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