This is a fabulous Old Male Black and White Songye Mask with Raffia from the Democratic Republic of the Congo. This mask belongs to the category of the most famous Songye masks known as Kifwebe and made for the Bwadi Bwa Kifwebe Secret society. "Kifwebe" means "Mask" in the Songye language and represents spirits of the ancestors during initiation ceremonies. Male masks are distinguished by a striated pattern of three colors. The size of the crest determines the magical power of the mask. Male masks are known for their distinctive exaggerated forms. Aggressively formed with bulging eyes, projecting mouths and powerful crests, and the masks of elders embody the greatest potential and strength. The dynamic forms symbolize the level of power, or grade of the masked figure. Used for social control, political action, or the solicitation of contributions and protection, masks like these were danced at important funerals, visits and investitures. Many of the masks include raffia or full fiber headdresses. The male mask is also a regulator of supernatural powers of a more masculine form. Kifebwe initiates learn the various hidden names of each part of the mask such as the nose which may be referred to as "the doors to a furnace". Male and female masks, all worn by men, are distinguished by form and coloration. The male version possesses highly exaggerated features and a prominent crest .It is also capable of inflicting punishment and and enforcing societal rules. These masks are kept in special huts and are brought out and danced for special celebrations. This is an amazing Songye Male Mask that was collected in the field and shows age. A really great piece to add to your collection.
Comes on Stand
Late 20th Century
25" tall top of mask to raffia
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