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Great Mask Songye Kifwebe (N° 14771)

African art among the Songye.


Named Kifwebe or "Boismasque", (plural Bifwebe), the same type of which was produced by both the Luba and Songye, this tribal mask imposes by its masterful dimensions. The term Kifwebe refers to the mask, the mask society, and the mask wearer belonging to the secret male society bwadi bwa kifwebe .
There are three variants: the masculine (kilume) usually with a high crest, the feminine (kikashi) with a very low or absent crest, and finally the largest embodying power (kia ndoshi).
Indigenous crack restorations. Patien burn clear abraded.
These African masks have holes on their outline set set shall be used for the most important ceremonies to attach a costume, including a voluminous beard made of natural fibres. The raffia adornment is now absent. The white streaks would symbolize the plumage and the link with death. In the 16th century, the Songyes migrated from the Shaba region to settle on the left bank of the Lualaba. Their society is organized in a patriarchal way. Their history is inseparable from that of the Luba to whom they are related through common ancestors. The Songyes have created impressive statues with powerful features are often used during secret ceremonies, covered with accessories such as feathers, skin and a horn full of magic charge. Very present in their society, divination allowed to discover the sorcerers and to shed light on the causes of the misfortunes that struck individuals. The masked performance of the male masks provided an opportunity to carry out punitive expeditions and maintain social order. The female masks, supposed to be endowed with divinatory faculties, activated by their dances the benevolent spirits.  

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Originex-collection Demanche
EthnySongye
CountryRDC
Material(s)wood
Height cm50
Width30 cm
Weight1.30 Kg
Estimated datingcirca 1920
Socle includedYes

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