African art > African mask, tribal art, primitive art > Songye mask

Songye Kikashi mask (N° 20608)

Among the iconic sculptures of African tribal art, this African Songye mask, the kikashi, embodies a positive force.
The half-closed palpebral slits are stretched toward the temples, with the nose and mouth projecting rectangularly. The flat nasofrontal ridge indicates that this is a female mask.
Matt patina. Very slight abrasions. Height on base : 41 cm.


Three variants of this mask Kifwebe ( pl. Bifwebe) or "chasing death"(Roberts),from the society of the same name, can be distinguished: the masculine one (kilume) generally with a high crest, the feminine one (kikashi) with a very low crest or even absent, and finally the largest one embodying the power (kia ndoshi). This type of mask, still used today, seems to come from the border area between the Northern Luba and the Songye of the Southeast. They are worn by a dancer Kifwebe in a state of "bwadi" trances , accessorized with a long woven costume and a long natural fiber ornament attached to the mask's contours, during major 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 chiefs. The Bwami secret society, however, counterbalances their power. Their male masks, with occult powers, were displayed during punitive and disciplinary expeditions.  

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Originex-collection belge
EthnySongye
Countryrdc ex zaire
Material(s)wood
Height30
Width14
Weight0.35 Kg
Socle includedYes

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