DescriptionSONGYE MASK FOR KIFWEBE ASSOCIATION
(DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF THE CONGO, CENTRAL AFRICA)
Masqueraders of the Kifwebe association are embodiments of spiritual forces, and appear in a wide variety of activities as disparate as public entertainments, criticism of poor social behavior and funerals. This example, because of the bulging eyes, projecting mouth and prominent crest, indicates a male. Alternatively, masks identified as female have restrained and refined forms. In contrast to the performers wearing "female" masks, those wearing "male" masks move about in a very aggressive, threatening fashion. Masks are worn only by men.
This mask is an unusually small example. It is in good condition with considerable wear and some pigment loss. Parts of the fiber netting, which help secure the wooden mask to the wearer's head, is extant. The man wearing the mask would have been concealed with a full fiber body covering.
Height: 13 ½ inches
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