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Songye Male Figure with Kifwebe Mask Congo African Art

Regular Price: $250.00

Special Price: $98.00

Product #: 99036
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Title Songye Male Figure with Kifwebe Mask Congo African Art
Type of Object Carved statue
Country of Origin Democratic Republic of the Congo
People Songye
Materials Wood
Approximate Age 20th century
Dimensions 18.5 inches H. x 6 inches W.
Overall Condition Good
Damage/Repair Old ddamage to back of head


Additional Information:  An interesting  Songye figure wearing a Kifwebe mask  This s a female mask  used by members of the Bwadi Bwa Kifwebe Secret society.  


"Kifwebe" means "Mask" in the Songye language. The face generally is covered with linear incisions which are sometimes pigmented, the mouth is most often square and protruding. If it has a central crest, it is masculine; if not, feminine. The size of the crest determines the magical power of the mask. Such masks are worn during initiation, circumcision, or funeral ceremonies.


According to Hersak (1985: 168), the striated masks, or kifwebe, are used as agents of a tradition and figures of authority to exercise social and political control through practices of evil magic and witchcraft by the members of the bwadi bwa kifwebe society. Among the societies public performances, three mask types exist: two grades of male and one female mask. Male masks are distinguished by a striated pattern of three colors while the female one is predominantly white with the features accented in black and some red... The Kifwebe tradition which exists also among the Luba, seems to have originated south of the eastern chiefdom in an area of Luba/Songe admixture. The Songye confirm this provenance by the interpretation that the kifwebe striations relate (apart from the zebra) to a pugnacious species of striped bushbuck antelope which inhabited the area.


Recommended Reading:


Bacquart's TRIBAL ARTS OF AFRICA and Cornet's A SURVEY OF ZAIREAN ART-THE BRONSON COLLECTION.


I have examined this piece and agree with the description
Elizabeth S. Bennett