The kifwebe masquerade is a genre shared by the Luba and Songye, indicative of the interaction that has occurred between the two societies. Kifwebe masks represent either male or female beings. In both mask types the entire face is covered in patterns of geometric grooves that are uniquely characteristic of these masks.
In the Songye langue, “kifwebe” means “mask”.
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. It is believed that that white stood for purity and peace.
Carved sese wood – 12-1/2” x 8-1/2” (31.8cm x 21.5cm)