African art > African statues : tribal fetish, maternity > Songye statue
Songye statue (N° 22633)
Singular sculpture representing a character frozen in powerful gestures, wearing a Songye mask and whose bust is formed by a circular shield, patterned with the Kifwebe mask. The Songye/Luba shields, called ngabo, were kept in the mask storage box where they were symbolically hung on the walls. Some were offered to Songye chiefs who made a pact with the Luba.
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A ritual horn, now missing, fitted into the head.
Satin patina. Erosions., small abrasions.
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 low or even absent crest, and finally the greater embodying power (kia ndoshi). This type of mask, still used today, seems to come from the border zone between the northern Luba and the Southeastern Songye.
The Songye came from the Shaba region in the DRC and settled between the Lualaba River and the Sankuru River in the middle of savannah and forests. Their male masks, with occult powers, were exhibited during punitive and disciplinary expeditions. Their appearances remained in fact linked to divinatory and socio-political objectives. (Luba, F. Neyt)
Lit. : "The Sensible and the Force" ed. Royal Museum for Central Africa
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|Country||rdc ex zaire|
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