African art > African mask, tribal art, primitive art > Songye Mask
Masque Songye/Tetela (N° 18387)
This Songye African mask, the kikashi , has stretched eyelids, a quadrangular mouth and an absence of a naso-frontal crest. A network of polychrome parallel streaks evoke the masks of the Tetela. Influenced by the Songyes of the north, the Tetela living in the south have indeed carved similar ritual works. Abrasions, missing at the top.
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This variants of this mask Kifwebe (pl. Bifwebe) or 'chasing death' (Roberts) stand out: the masculine (kilume) usually with a high crest, the feminine (kikashi) with a very low crest see absent, and finally the greatest embodying power (kia ndoshi). This type of mask, still used today, appears to come from the border area between the northern Luba and the Southeastern Songye. They are worn with a long suit and a long beard made of natural fibers, absent on this copy, during the most important ceremonies.
Sye came from the Shaba region of the DRC and settled along the Lualaba River in the middle of savannah and forests. They are governed by the -akitengé and local chiefs. The secret society Bwami however, counterbalances their power. Their male masks, with occult powers, were displayed in punitive and disciplinary expeditions.
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|Country||rdc ex zaire|
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