Songue people, Zaire: Kifwebe Mask. Carved wood, Incised decorations polychromed with brown, blue, sienna and kaolin clay pigments. Early 20th century. Impressive shapes, the nose forming part of the crest like hairdo, enlarged eyelids, a protruding boxlike mouth, and lineal ornamentation on the entire surface characterize this mask. It comes with a custom-made steel display stand.
Kifwebe masks were believed to embody supernatural forces. The Kifwebe Society used them to ward off disaster or any threat. They were worn on ceremonies honoring a dead chief, at the installation of a new chief and at the welcoming of important visitors to the village. The masks had the capacity to heal by means of a supernatural force.