songye kifwebe 'kikashi' mask
country: democratic republic of congo
size: 20" (50.8 cm)
provenace: scaasi collection
note: stand not included
The Songye Kifwebe masks belong to a society of the same name, a society the enjoys extreme respect. Some individuals of the Songye Kifwebe society, the 'basha masende' are believed to have supernatural powers enabling them to manipulate spirits using magical techniques. When danced, the masks are supplemented with a woven costume and long raffia beard. They are work by men who act a police at the direction of the ruler, or to intimidate the enemy at times of war.
The mask picture here is the female version of the Songye Kifwebe mask, known as 'kikashi', and differs from the male mask, known as 'kilume' which is surmounted with a high comb over the center of the head.
Notes on the Scaasi Collection: The bulk of the collection was put together in the 1970's from galleries in the New York area while the collector was living in Greenwich Village. His collecting continued over the years though with a piece added here and there through till the mid to late 1990’s. No documentation exists, the information is from family members.