Songye Mask

Africa | Democratic Republic of the Congo

Songye Mask

Democratic Republic of the Congo

Male Kifwebe mask
Kalebwe

Carved and painted wood
Early 20th century
Height: 24 in. – 61 cm

Ex private collection in the Netherlands since the 1960s
By descent in the family (third generation)
Ex Sotheby’s Paris

Published: Faces, visible - invisible, April 2021
Kifwebe Mask 61 cm / Galerie Flak Price on request
This type of geometric mask represents a powerful male spirit of the Songye.
The style of this mask is highly reminiscent of cubist artworks.
As stated by Alisa LaGamma (the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York), “certain masking traditions of the Congo River basin personify local control of mystical power. Striated face masks known as Kifwebe probably originated in North Shaba, an area inhabited by both Songye and Luba groups. Among the small Songye chiefdoms along the Lomami River, maskers were emissaries of the ruling elite, who relied on the ideology of witchcraft and sorcery to sustain their rule. These Kifwebe members commanded a body of esoteric secret knowledge visually encoded mnemonically in the mask's features. Hierarchical distinctions between a single female mask and an unlimited number of male masks are reflected in color and in sculptural features”.

Video

Explore the entire collection
Africa
Africa | Democratic Republic of the Congo
Africa | Gabon
Africa | Democratic Republic of the Congo
Africa | Democratic Republic of the Congo
Africa | Nigeria
Africa | Nigeria
Africa | Burkina Faso
Africa | Ghana
Africa | Nigeria
Africa | Nigeria
Africa | Cameroon
Africa | Democratic Republic of the Congo
Africa | Northern Liberia
Africa | Ivory Coast
Africa | Democratic Republic of the Congo
Africa | Mali
Africa | Burkina Faso
Africa | Nigeria
Africa | Mali
Africa | Mali
Africa | Ivory Coast
Africa | Nigeria
Africa | Democratic Republic of the Congo
Africa | Nigeria
Africa | Democratic Republic of the Congo
Africa | Nigeria
Africa | Democratic Republic of the Congo
Africa | Ivory Coast
Africa | Burkina Faso
Africa | Burkina Faso
Africa | Mali
Africa | Democratic Republic of the Congo
Africa | Nigeria
Africa | Mali
Africa | Democratic Republic of the Congo
Africa | Burkina Faso
Africa | Cameroon
Africa | Mali
Africa | Democratic Republic of the Congo
Africa | Mali
Africa | Mali
Africa | Mali
Africa | Democratic Republic of the Congo
Africa | Ghana
Africa | Nigeria
Africa | Nigeria
Africa | Guinea
Africa | Burkina Faso
Africa | Cross River, Nigeria
Africa | Burkina Faso
Africa | Cameroon
Africa | Gabon
Africa | Burkina Faso
Africa | Democratic Republic of the Congo
Africa | Democratic Republic of the Congo
Africa | Democratic Republic of the Congo
Africa | Mali
Africa | Nigeria
Africa | Burkina Faso
Africa | Angola
Africa | Mali
Africa | Democratic Republic of the Congo
Africa | Ghana
Africa | South Africa
Africa | Nigeria
Discover our collections
CoLLECTIoNS
Newsletter

Subscribe to our newsletter