African art > Mask > Songye Mask
Songye KIfwebe Mask (N° 16597)
This African Songye mask, the kikashi , has eyelids stretched to the temples, a quadrangular mouth and a reduced naso-frontal crest. Parallel streaks, covered with white clay, embellish the sculpture, symbolizing plumage and the link with death.
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Three variants of this mask Kifwebe (pl. Bifwebe) or "chasing the mort" (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 originate from the adjacent 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.
The Songye came from the Shaba region of the DRC and settled along the Lualaba River in the middle of the savannah and forests. They are governed by the yakitengé and by local leaders. The secret society Bwami however, counterbalances their power. Their male masks, with occult powers, were displayed during punitive and disciplinary expeditions.
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This item is sold with its certificate of authenticity
|Estimated dating||mid xxe|
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