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The Songye (or Songwe) people live in the southern forests and savannah’s of the Congo. Their Kifwebe masks are well known; the striped colouration, large hooded eyes and squared shaped mouths being characteristic features. The masks are usually worn by male dancers during important rituals, ceremonies and celebrations although the masks themselves may reflect either gender – masks with a high central crest are male while those with a low crest are female.
The masks represent the spirits of the forests and rivers that surround Songye territory. The male masks are used in frenetic dances that encourage members of the community to adhere to the laws and rules of society. The female masks move calmly, their task is to invoke benevolent spirits that ensure the well-being of the tribe. Female masks are associated with purity and serenity and are worn for moon rituals as well as during funerals and initiation rites.
Size: 470mm x 230mm x 210mm
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