Gothamgallery Fine African Art - Drc Songye Mask Female Kifwebe For Sale
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Fine African DRC Songye Kifwebe Mask – Female Form
Height: 44.5 Centimeters
Measurements Mask Only
Estimated Early 20th Century
Fair - Good
Highly stylized mask striated design polychrome finished aged surface true tribal usage
US East Coast - Estimated $16.00
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Documentation of Authenticity / Any Available Provenance Will Be Included With This Piece.
Wood deterioration, worn areas, chips and scrapes, age cracks, overall condition good. Thank you and please view my other items.
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. Songye origins are shared with the Luba through a common mythical Songye ancestor known as Kongolo, who can be traced through lineages to the 16th century. The linguistic traditions of these neighboring peoples are intertwined as well. It is believed that the founders of the Songye emerged from the lake region in Shaba province to the south in the heart of the Luba homeland. Highly stylized masks called the Kifwebe are famous Songye tribal art. These masks have grooved pattern on the face and is a common characteristic. The white paint in the grooves symbolizes peace, light and the purity of the soul. Some mask adorned with brown, tan and blue symbolizes nature as positive force. The facial elements are associated with animals. Some mask appears to have the Black white stripes of a zebra. The nose in most instances seems to appear triangular and the mouth is always protruding and geometrically shaped - rectangular, square, half circle. The Songye tribe uses this type of masks during ceremonies, and at the funeral processions of important leaders. According to the Songye tribe, when certain individuals of the Kifwebe society wear the mask along with the costume and raffia beard they are believed to gain magical powers that can manipulate evil spirits.
Painter Fred Uhlman words - Most of the artists I admired, Picasso, Modigliani, Deraini, to mention only a few, had collected African art and had been profoundly influenced by it. Shortly afterwards I bought the Baule Fetish and the Baule bobbin which are still two of the finest pieces in my collection. It is easy to see why I bought them and why from that moment I have never stopped collecting. The head of the bobbin or heddle - pulley which is after all only a functional object for the purpose of weaving seemed to me then and today as beautiful as a Greek goddess. The fetish moved me as deeply as the bobbin by its silent tragic dignity and its air of profound meditation.
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