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

Songye mask (N° 21248)

The tribal masks of the Songye .
African mask of the Songye ethnic group, in the south of the Democratic Republic of Congo. Featuring an impressive sagittal crest, this kilume mask represents a high authority in the brotherhood. Broad colored bands emphasize its volumes. Matt patina, abrasions and erosions.
Three variants of this Kifwebe( pl. Bifwebe) or "death chaser"(Roberts)mask are distinguished: the masculine (kilume) generally with a high crest, the feminine (kikashi) with a very low crest or even absent, and finally the largest 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 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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Originrécolté in-situ 1994
EthnySongye
Countryrdc ex zaire
Material(s)wood
Height cm60
Depth20 cm
Width35 cm
Weight4.50 Kg
Estimated datingmid-xx°
Socle includedYes

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