African art > African mask, tribal art, primitive art > Songye mask
Songye Kifwebe miniature mask (N° 21774)
The tribal masks of the Songye .
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African mask of the Songye ethnic group, in the south of the Democratic Republic of Congo . Provided with a high sagittal crest, this mask, of modest size, would be masculine, as opposed to the feminine mask which carries a ridge. The lines in powerful relief give it a spectacular appearance. Matte patina, abrasions.
Three variations of this Kifwebe mask (pl. Bifwebe) or "chasing death" (Roberts) stand out: the masculine (kilume) generally with a high crest, the feminine (kikashi) with a very high crest. bass or even absent, and finally the biggest one embodying power (kia ndoshi). This type of mask, still used today, is worn with a long costume and a long beard made of natural fibers, absent on this example, during major ceremonies.
The Songye came from the Shaba region of the DRC and settled along the Lualaba River amid savannah and forests. They are governed by the yakitenge and by local chiefs. The secret society Bwami, however, balances their power. Their male masks, with occult powers, were exhibited during punitive and disciplinary expeditions.
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|Country||rdc ex zaire|
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