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

Songye Mask (N° 24610)

The tribal masks of the Songye .
African mask from the Songye, in the south of the Democratic Republic of Congo. The rounded forehead of this sleek mask has no sagittal crest. The planes of contrasting colors reinforce the geometric character of the work. Matte patina, abrasions.
Height on base: 39 cm.
Three variants 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 bass or even absent, and finally the greatest embodying power (kia ndoshi). This type of mask, still used today, is worn with a long costume and a long beard made of natural fibres, absent on this example, during major ceremonies. The Songye came from the Shaba region in the DRC and settled along the Lualaba River in the middle of savannah and forests. They are governed by the yakitenge and by local chiefs. The Bwami secret society, however, counterbalances their power. Their male masks, with occult powers, were exhibited during punitive and disciplinary expeditions.  

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OriginEx-collection belge
Countryrdc ex zaire
Height cm26
Width13 cm
Weight0.82 Kg
Socle includedYes

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