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AX XCD

Kifwebe Mask from Democratic Republic of Congo
Tribe: Shaba-Songye.
Materials:Wood, paint, pigment
Dimensions: Height 28 cm x Width 15 cm


During the 16th century, the Songye migrated from the Shaba area, which is now the southern part of the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Their history is closely linked to the Luba's, to whom the Songye are related through common ancestors. Having waged war against one another for a long time, the Songye and Luba later formed an alliance to fight the Arabs. They settled on the left bank of the Lualaba River, on a savanna and forest-covered plateau. Divided into many subgroups, the 150,000 Songye people are governed by a central chief assisted by innumerable secret societies.
In the Songye language, a mask is a kifwebe: this term has been given to masks representing spirits and characterized by striations.
The kifwebe masquerade is a genre shared by the Luba and Songye, indicative of the interaction that has occurred between the two societies. Kifwebe masks represent either male or female beings. Both mask types are characterized by angular and thrusting forms, and in both cases the entire face is covered in patterns of geometric grooves that are uniquely characteristic of these masks. Female masks, such as this one, are distinguished by the predominant use of white clay and the rounded form of the head crest.



Qty: 1
Price:  100.00


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