African art > African mask, tribal art, primitive art > Songye mask
Songye Kifwebe mask (N° 20510)
The asymmetry of the powerful features of this tribal mask participates in the strength that it expresses.
Large bands of contrasting colors, locally abraded, mark the surface.
Eroded contours. Abrasions.
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Three types of African Kifwebe art masks are listed: the masculine (kilume) generally with a high crest, the feminine (kikashi) would present a more modest crest or even absent, and finally the largest embodying power (kia ndoshi).
Also practiced by the Luba, the cult kifwebe ("mask" in Songye) acted as a secret police force for power, so as to control individuals through magic. Worn with a long suit and a long beard made of natural fibers, Kifwebe masks additionally appeared during crucial stages of initiation ceremonies at the new moon.
The Songye came from the Shaba region of the DRC and settled along the Lualaba River in the middle of the savanna and forests. They are governed by the yakitengé and by local chiefs. The Bwami secret society, however, counterbalances their power.
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|Country||rdc ex zaire|
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