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Tribal art > African mask > Songye Mask

Kifwebe mask of Songye (N° 17258)

This Songye, kikashi, African mask embodies a positive force. The palpebral, half-closed slits are stretched towards the temples, nose and mouth in rectangular protruding. The reduced naso-frontal crest indicates that it is a female mask. Parallel lines are dug on the pigmented surface of white. Abrasions and cracks are worth noting.
This variants of this mask Kifwebe (pl. Bifwebe) or 'chasing death' (Roberts), from the society of the same name, stand out: the masculine (kilume) usually with a high crest, the feminine (kikashi) with a very low crest or absent, and finally the greatest embodying power (kia ndoshi). This type of mask, still used today, appears to come from the border area between the northern Luba and the Southeastern Songye. They are worn by a dancer Kifwebe in a state of trance 'bwadi' , accessorized with a long braided suit and a long natural fiber adornment attached 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 amidst the savannah and forests. They are governed by the Yakitengé and local chiefs. The secret society Bwami, however, counterbalances their power. Their male masks, with occult powers, were displayed in punitive and disciplinary expeditions.  

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OriginCollection E. Caldwell
EthnySongye
Countryrdc ex zaire
Material(s)wood
Height cm38
Width19 cm
Weight0.85 Kg
Estimated dating1ère halfxx°
Socle includedYes

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