A fine Eastern Pende Panya-Gombe African mask. Coll.: David Norden
Songye Kifwebe Masks
Since rivers were the sacred homes of spirits and their chiefs were buried in them the Songye did not fish except in times of famine.
Kifwebe masks were made for the Bwadi ya Kifwebe association, a type of policing society that provided a means of
controlling social behavior and neutralizing disruptive elements within the group. These masks appeared at the
installation and death of a chief, and at the initiation rites of young men as well as a whole range of occasions
that included punishments, warfare and public works. There is great variety and symbolism within the various
Male Kifwebe mask
A male Kifwebe mask can be identified by its large comb or crest. The size and height of the crest, in comparison to other masks danced in the same performance, indicates seniority or higher rank and the relative spiritual power of the dancer.
Junior masks have smaller crests as an indication of their lesser degree of social power.
The male Kifwebe represent socially approved agents bent on social intimidation of wrongdoers.
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These masks are sold, but send us a private mail if you want such a mask, we'll tell you when something is available.
Female Kifwebe masks
Female masks are more curvilinear and the facial features are usually contained in an oval form.
read also a french article about the last book from Neyt about l'Art Songye
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Tribal Arts of Africa
mail David Norden phone +32 3 227.35.40