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Lot 101a, Auction 8/17/2017: Songye Kifwebe Miniature Wooden Mask

Africa, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Songye peoples, ca. late 19th to mid-20th century CE. A beautiful and bright small Songye wooden mask, made to be worn atop the head rather than over the face. The eyes are overshadowed by enormous brows and the mouth puckers outward in a rectangular shape and painted brown-red; the rest of the face is striated and painted a creamy brown color. 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: 3.5" L x 3.25" W x 7.25" H (8.9 cm x 8.3 cm x 18.4 cm)

Condition: Wear to paint and slight chipping to wood; nice aged look.

Provenance: Ex-Private LA County collection

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