African art > African mask, tribal art, primitive art > Songye Mask
Masquette Songye (N° 19630)
African art among the Songyes.
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This mask forms a small copy of the "shydles" Kifwebe (plural Bifwebe). The term Kifwebe refers to the mask, the society of masks, and the wearer of the mask belonging to the secret male society bwadi bwa kifwebe which provided social control. There are three variants: the masculine (kilume) usually with a high crest, the feminine (kikashi) with a very low crest or absent, and finally the largest embodying power (kia ndoshi).
These African masks have holes on their outline so that they can attach a costume for the most important ceremonies, including a voluminous beard made of natural fibres. The white streaks would symbolize plumage and the connection with death. In the 16th century, the Songyes migrated from the Shaba region to settle on the left bank of the Lualaba, 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 afflicted individuals. The masked performance of the male masks provided an opportunity to carry out punitive expeditions and maintain social order. The female masks, supposed to be endowed with divinatory faculties, activated by their dances the benevolent spirits.
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|Country||rdc ex zaire|
|Estimated dating||2ème halfxx°|
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