African art > African mask > Songye Mask
This African Songye mask, the kikashi , has eyelids stretched to the temples, a quadrangular mouth and a reduced naso-frontal crest. Parallel streaks, covered with white clay, embellish the sculpture, symbolizing plumage and the link with death.
Three variants of this mask Kifwebe (pl. Bifwebe) or "chasing the mort" (Roberts) stand out: the masculine (kilume) usually with a high crest, the feminine (kikashi) with a very low crest see absent, and finally the greatest embodying power (kia ndoshi). This type of mask, still used today, appears to originate from the adjacent area between the northern Luba and the Southeastern Songye. They are worn with a long suit and a long beard made of natural fibers, absent on this copy, during the most important ceremonies.