African art > African mask > Songye Mask

Masquette Songye Kifwebe (N° 18696)

African art among the Songye.
This reduced mask, flanked by two small vertical ears or horns, forms a variant of the "wooden mask" Kifwebe ( plural Bifwebe), of which the same type was produced by the Luba and Songye. The term Kifwebe refers to the mask, the society of masks, and the wearer of the mask belonging to the male secret society bwadi bwa kifwebe which provided social control. There are three variants: the masculine (kilume) generally with a high peak, the feminine (kikashi) with a very low or even absent peak, and finally the tallest embodying power (kia ndoshi). Matt patina locally flaked.
Height on base : 33 cm.

These African masks are equipped with holes on their outline so that, for the most important ceremonies, a costume can be attached to them, including a voluminous beard made of natural fibers. The white striations would symbolize the plumage and the link with death. In the sixteenth century, the Songyes migrated from the Shaba region to settle on the left bank of the Lualaba River in Katanga and Kasai. Their society is organized in a patriarchal way. Their history is inseparable from that of the Luba to whom they are related through common ancestors. Very present in their society, divination made it possible to discover the sorcerers and to shed light on the causes of the misfortunes that struck individuals. The masked performances of the male masks were an opportunity to accomplish punitive expeditions and to maintain social order. Female masks, which were supposed to be equipped with divinatory faculties, activated benevolent spirits through their dances.  

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EthnySongye
Countryrdc ex zaire
Material(s)wood
Height23
Width12
Weight0.15 Kg
Estimated dating2ème halfxx°
Socle includedYes

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