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Songye Kifwebe Mask - grains of africa

Songye Kifwebe Mask


SKU: CCM3004 Category:

Product Description

Kifwebe masks belong to the Songye tribe of the Democratic Republic of Congo. The word Kifwebe means ‘mask in the Songye language. Kifwebe masks are the most popular masks created by the Songye tribe. During the 16th Century the Songye migrated from the Shaba areas of Zaire now known as the Democratic Republic of Congo. They settled on the left bank of the Lualaba river on a savannah. Among the Songye, the Bwadi Bwa Kifwebe is a secret society which guides the ruling elite and helps them maintain economic and political power. It has been suggested that the linear incisions which covers the masks are reminiscent of the caves in which the three founding spirits of the society emerged and it is believed that the masks are therefore beyond the realm of the universe. This Kifwebe mask is male as it has a large central crest. In this type of mask the size of the crest reflect the hierarchy – the large the crest – the greater the magical potential and mystical powers within the mask. During the ceremonies such as circumcision ritual or funeral ceremonies, the dancer would wear the mask and his body would be covered in straw. The dancer who wore the mask would display aggressive and uncontrolled behavior.

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Additional Information


14” (36cm)


8” (20.5cm)


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