SONGYE MASK 62

Photographs © Hamill Gallery

SONGYE
Mask 62
18.5-26" high (mask - mask with raffia)
9-14" wide (mask - mask with raffia)
7" deep
$400
Despite its appearance this Songye mask shows no evidence of age or use and was probably made to be sold.

There is some edge damage from wear on the nose and mouth, and kaolin (white pigment) loss overall. As with many Songye masks, the profile views are very dynamic.

Audaciously shaped and highly symbolic, Songye Kifebwe masks are part of the regalia of the powerful Bukishi society. The power of the masks is directed towards issues of social control, justice and the continuity of the established political hierarchy and the dances in which the masks appear are characterized by otherworldly sounds and lively movements.

Kifebwe initiates learn the various hidden names of each part of the mask such as the nose which may be referred to as "the doors to a furnace". Male and female masks, all worn by men, are distinguished by form and coloration. The male version possesses highly exaggerated features and a prominent crest whereas the female masks are generally white with a low or almost nonexistent crest.

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