Kifwebe Masked Figure Luba-songye Dr Congo African
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Kifwebe Masked Figure Luba-songye Dr Congo African:
TitleKifwebe Masked Figure Luba-Songye DR Congo African Type of ObjectfigureCountry of OriginDR CongoPeopleLuba-SongyeMaterialsWood, animal skinApproximate Agesecond half 20th centuryDimensions12.25 inches H. Overall ConditionFair to goodDamage/Repaircrack in face, shallow cracks in body
This figure wears the most famous of the Songye masks, made for the Bwadi Bwa Kifwebe Secret society. "Kifwebe" means "Mask" in the Songye language. The mask is covered with linear incisions with traces pigment. the mouth is most often square and protruding. If it has a central crest, it is masculine; if not, feminine. The figure represents a Kifwebe mask dancers.
'The Songye and Luba striated masks known as 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 Songe 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.
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