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Songye Kifwebe Mask

Songye, Congo. Wood Pigments, striations.
Height: 20"

This mask is called the Kifwebe mask and is one of the better known masks of the people of the Congo. Quite imposing in appearance, it had striations (ethnographic sign/symbols) which oral history informs may have represented either the antelope, the founding spirit's path or of the difficulties and unpredictability of life's details (or perhaps all of the above!), which initiates had to go through!

There seems to be two kinds of Kifwebe masks, the male, which has a crest and a female, without. This one without the crest is thought to be female. Kifwebe mask was said to have been assigned many duties, some of which were, to heal (keep death at bay!), ward off disaster or threat, for a royal's commemoration or for welcoming important dignitaries to the village.

Ezn. 133

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