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Songye Mask Raffia Cloth Horn Congo African Art

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Title Songye Mask Raffia Cloth Horn Congo African Art
Type of Object Mask
Country of Origin Democratic Republic of Congo
People Songye
Materials Metal (metal content unknown), horn, vegetable fiber
Approximate Age 20th century
Height (in) 18
Width (in) 10
Depth (in) 21
Dimensions Height: 18 Inches
Width: 10 Inches
28 Inches length with decorations
Overall Condition Fair
Damage/Repair Cracks, chips and a well worn patina


The Songye live on the left bank of the Lualaba River in an area of savanna crossed by numerous major river systems. They have a long history of migration and cultural interchange with the Hemba, Kuba, Tetela, Luluwa and especially with the Luba from whom they are said to have originated. Magical beliefs and practice are widespread among the Songye people who use figures such as this on family or village altars where they contact the spirits of ancestors, nature spirits, and where offerings and prayers are given.

Recommended Reading:

Cornet, J., A Survey of Zairian Art, North Carolina Museum of Art, 1978

Dunja Hersak,Songye Masks and sculpture figures, 1985

Neyt, F., Traditional Arts and History of Zaire, Louvain, 1981