Songye Kifwebe Bearded Mask Congo
The Songye, an ethnic group in the southeastern part of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, are renowned for their Kifwebe masks, significant artifacts crafted for the Bwadi Bwa Kifwebe Secret Society. "Kifwebe" translates to "Mask" in the Songye language, symbolizing a crucial aspect of their cultural heritage. These masks, recognizable by elongated faces and linear incisions portraying animals like crocodiles, birds, and zebras, boast vibrant colors—black, white, and red—with male masks featuring a tricolored striated pattern and female ones predominantly white with black and red accents. Utilized in dances and rituals, these masks embody spiritual forces and offer protection from malevolent spirits. Alongside masks, Songye art encompasses sculptures and figurines depicting humans or animals, sculpted from various materials like wood. Revered globally by collectors and art enthusiasts, Songye art holds a significant place in African culture, influencing Contemporary art movements worldwide.
Approximate Age: 20th Century