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19th C. African Songye Wood Mask (Kifwebe)

Africa, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Songye peoples, ca. late 19th to mid 20th century CE. An instantly recognizable Songye small wooden mask with a striated surface. These are known as kifwebe, and are used to symbolize the connection of local ruling elites with spiritual powers. The elite in the Songye culture are seen as those who know witchcraft and sorcery in the society, and the striated lines of the mask can be read by the right person to decode some of this mystical knowledge. Size: 3" W x 5.7" H (7.6 cm x 14.5 cm)

Condition: Wear to wood surface, with nice aged patina.

Provenance: Ex-Private LA County collection

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