African art > African mask, tribal art, primitive art > Luba Mask

Luba Kifwebe mask on plinth (N° 19788)

This type of African Luba mask, with its rounded structure, has similarities with the Songye masks. However, they did not have the same function. This category of African masks is called "bifwebe" (plural). They appeared at funerals and investitures. A prominent rectangular mouth, as well as incised motifs on the cheeks, distinguish this example. Matt patina, residues encrusted with kaolin. Height on base : 23 cm. They performed during the ritual ceremonies of the kazanzi society, responsible for fighting witchcraft. "Bifwebe" (Sing.: kifwebe) would moreover mean, according to C. Faïk-Nzuji, "to chase death". Worn with a voluminous raffia collar that concealed the dancer, this mask was generally danced in the company of a zoomorphic mask. For the Luba, white is synonymous with a relationship with the spiritual world, through the evocation of the moon that the circular shape of the object evokes.  

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Originex-collection britannique
Countryrdc ex zaire
Height cm15
Width13 cm
Weight0.10 Kg
Estimated datingmid-xx°
Socle includedYes

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