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Art Gallery the Eye and the Hand



Kifwebe mask, Songe people, Democratic Republic of Congo

€ 32,000.00
Great mask male Kifwebe
Songye, Democratic Republic of Congo

Wood light, mineral traces of dye located on the face, black, white, reddish brown; traces of port on the walls resulting from its use.
Rest of costume dance composed at the back of a net and plant fibers recovered horn and enhanced with small shells.

            Songye lives in the centre of the Democratic Republic of Congo and constitute a group divided into numerous subgroups and organized to a system of patrilineal filiation. Masks Bifwebe (sing. Kifwebe) is used by the powerful society of the same name (the Bwadi Bwa Kifwebe) and occur during various formalities, notably those accompanying the rituals of introduction and male circumcision, but also funeral. Their sacred character also could in certain opportunities to turn out to be menacing, as in context of war or conflict inside the community. They played a police role then or were used to scare the enemy. Today always used in festive contexts, they belong to a type which is also found at the neighbouring the place of groups of Luba.Representations of mask Kifwebe on objects linked to the secret society, for example on shields are also found.



These masks are appreciated of the collectors for their big expressiveness.The characteristic eminent eyes and the mouth of this type of mask confer on it a remarkable visual power, while the elegance of its grooves and of its sagittal crest make a visually very powerful room.The polychromie dresses mask on this a symbolic character :white colour will represent positive aspects such as purity and peace, moon and light, while red colour will be linked to the fire and to blood, to courage and to force, but also to danger and to negative magic.So the female masks Kifwebe (devoid of sagittal crest), which represent positive force rather, will be in white dominant feature.Dances of masks Kifwebe also differ according to the type of the mask :the masculine mask will adopt an aggressive and unforeseen attitude intended to encourage social compliance, while the bearer of the female mask will have movements softer and controlled, intended to improve the fertility of the women.  


   According to some authors, incisions would have a symbolic value :he would remind tunnels where from came founder minds of the kifwebe society or, at another level of reading, the belly of caverns where from went out the first men.Selon certains auteurs, les incisions auraient une valeur symbolique :il rappelleraient les souterrains d’où sont venus les esprits fondateurs de la société kifwebe ou, à un autre niveau de lecture, le ventre des cavernes d’où sont sortis les premiers hommes.

  • The Other face.Africain masks of the collection Barbier-Muller, Prestel-Velag, on 1999L’Autre visage.Masques africains de la collection Barbier-Muller, Prestel-Velag, 1999
  • Mr Faïk-Nzuji C., The power of the sacred.Man, nature and art in Black Africa, Maisonnneuve and Larose, on 1993M. Faïk-Nzuji C., La puissance du sacré. L’homme, la nature et l’art en Afrique Noire, Maisonnneuve & Larose, 1993
  • Neyt F., Luba, to the sources of Zaïre, Paris, Editions of the museum Dapper, on 1993Neyt F., Luba, aux sources du Zaïre, Paris, Editions du musée Dapper, 1993
  • Bacquart J-B., The tribal art of the Black Africa, Editions Assouline, 1998


african art / art africain / primitive art / art primitif / arts premiers / art gallery / art tribal / tribal art / l'oeil et la main / galerie d'art premier / Agalom / Armand Auxiètre / /

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