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12" Male and Female Set of 2 African Congo Songi Songe Songye Kwifibe Wood Masks: Black and White
12" - 14" Male and Female Set of 2 African Congo Songi Songe Songye Kwifibe Wood Masks: Black and White
Male version (with 1 bird) and Female version (2 birds) also available for sale separately in our store.
This replica mask of powerful beauty is known as kwifibe by the Songye people of the Democratic Republic of Congo. Distinguished by its black and white stripes, the mask is believed to embody supernatural forces that will ward off evil. To the Songye, the use of white on the mask symbolizes positive concepts such as purity and peace, the moon, and light. This wall mask is carved by hand in Africa featuring a bird looking downward.
Made in Africa
Beautifully crafted Congo Songi/Songe/Songye wood mask will add a bit of Africa to your decor. Size: 12" - 14" x 5" - 7".
Price is for 2 masks: 1 male mask (with 1 bird on top) and 1 female mask (with 2 birds on top).
The present mask belongs to the category of the most famous Songye masks knowns as Kifwebe and made for the Bwadi Bwa Kifwebe Secret society. "Kifwebe" means "Mask" in the Songye language.
According to Hersak (1985: 168), "the striated masks, or 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 society's 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 and 1 bird on top while the female one is predominantly white with the features accented in black and some red and 2 birds on top... 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 Songye confirms 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."