African art > African mask, tribal art, primitive art > Luba Mask
Luba Kifwebe mask on plinth (N° 19204)
This type of polychrome African luba mask, with a rounded structure, has similarities with the masks of the Songye. They did not, however, serve the same function. This category of African masks are called "bifwebe" (plural). They appeared at funerals and investitures. A large rectangular mouth, colored red ochre, distinguishes this example. Matt patina, colored highlights.
Height on base: 24 cm.
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They occurred during the ritual ceremonies of the Kazanzi society, which was responsible for fighting witchcraft. "Bifwebe" (Sing.: kifwebe) would mean, moreover, according to C. Faïk-Nzuji, "to hunt death". Worn with a voluminous raffia collar that concealed the dancer, this mask was usually danced in the company of a zoomorphic mask. For the Luba, white is synonymous with the relationship with the spiritual world, by the evocation of the moon evoked by the circular shape of the object. The half-closed globular eyelids are hollowed out, as are the nostrils and the mouth. Parallel stripes are engraved on the surface, usually coated with white clay. Matt patina.
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