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GHANA - AFRICA 150 $+Free Shipping DHL Express 180 $SONGYE KIFWEBE MASK,
DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF THE CONGO
Sold without the mask stand You can purchase a mask stand separately
The Kifwebe mask is generally associated with the Democratic Republic of the
Congo and has been used to police society and establish and enforce norms.
Kifwebe masks with lighter faces are generally understood to serve as female
representations – though they would be worn by a male. The mask to the left is
from the Sonya People, it’s provenance is the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
It was made in the 19th – 20th century and is made of wood and pigment. This
Kifwebe mask is in the collection of the Boston Museum of Fine Arts. The
detailing and craftsmanship of the Kifwebe mask are what draw me. The face is
so evocative, the features stylized and the pattern of carving so beautiful.
Indeed, in its particular cultural context, the kifwebe mask isn’t intended to
be seen as “beautiful.” Its function is to serve as a reminder of social norms
and ideals. When considering African objects or art, one must consider function
first – what purpose was this object used for?; what meaning is it intended to
convey?; how is it used, and in what context? – and beauty comes after context
and meaning. In other words, African objects that in the West, we call art (and
indeed are beautiful, artistic, and considered overwhelmingly as art) were in
many cases with older African objects, first created to serve a function. The
fact that the object is also extraordinarily beautiful, created with exquisite
form and wonderful lines, is part of the effortless integration of beauty and
art into daily life, that I see in African art. I love the Kifwebe mask on the
left. The one below and to the right is also wonderful. I’m struck by the
alternating color, the elegantly shaped and prominent stylized eyes, and the
harmony of the work. The sense of geometry, form, and placement is superb. This
mask from the Songye people of Zaire is made of wood, pigment, cord, beading,
and polychrome. Here is an up-close detail of an eye of the Kifwebe mask – in
this view you can see the preciseness of the carving, and the use of pigment.
Height : 40 cm
Width : 22 cm
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Contact us with any questions
GHANA - AFRICA