African art > Statues > Songye figure
dancer mask Kifwebe Songye figure (N° 18704)
Ex-collection Belgian African art.
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This Kifwebe dancer figure wears the African mask Songye, the kikashi, embodying a positive force. The reduced naso-frontal ridge indicates that it is a female mask. Decorated with its raffia collar and a braided integral costume, the dancer wears moreover a fur skirt and sandals out of skin.
Imposing raffia beard fixed to the contours of the object. Kifwebe ( pl. Bifwebe) or "to hunt death"(Roberts),of the company of the same name, are distinguished: the masculine (kilume) generally with a high peak, the feminine (kikashi) with a very low peak even absent, and finally the largest embodying the power (kia ndoshi). This type of mask, still in use today, seems to have come from the border zone between the northern Luba and southeastern Songye. They are worn by a dancer in a "bwadi" state of trance ( Kifwebe). The mask is made of a long braided costume and a long set of natural fibers fixed to the contours of the mask, 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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|Country||rdc ex zaire|
|Material(s)||wood, fibes végétales, peau animale|
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