African art > African mask, tribal art, primitive art > Songye mask
The tribal masks of the Songye .
African mask of the Songye ethnic group, in the south of the Democratic Republic of Congo. Featuring a high sagittal crest, this mask, here of reduced size, is considered masculine, in contrast to the feminine one highlighted by a ridge. The prominent features give it a powerful character. Matt patina, abrasions.
Three variants of this Kifwebe( pl. Bifwebe) or "chasing death"(Roberts)mask can be 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 ...