SALE END DATE AND TIME
July 31, 2016 : SALE CLOSED
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|Songye, Democratic Republic of Congo|
This intriquing masquette is known as kifwebe, which in Songye language is literally translated as "mask". It has a range of coloration, more than most, and was not made with a fineness that suggests it was made for the Western eye. It also shows signs of multiple applications of pigment. For detail as to its potential function, we yield to Marc L. Felix, and his book "Beauty and the Beasts - Kifwebe and Animal Masks of the Songye, Luba and Related Peoples", Marc Leo Felix wrties that the masks were used for everthing from celebrating harvests to honor deceased and solve conflict and crises. Photo of masked Kifwebe dancer is source: Barbier-Mueller Museum
|Lot ID: 49|
|Low Estimate: $1,500|
|High Estimate: $3,500|
|Next Bid: $1,000|
|Sale ID: 6|
|Sale Date: July 28, 2016|
|Sale Location: Virtual Auction|
|Sale Sponsor: African Artworks from Berz Gallery of African Art|
|Sale Terms: View here|
|Live Bidding Link: SALE CLOSED|
|Location of Origin: Africa|
|Medium/Materials: wood (one piece), kaolin and other pigment stain|
|Dimensions: 7" (17.78 cm) height x 3.75" (9.52 cm) width|
|Primary Classification: African Artwork, Ethnographic & Tribal Arts : African Art : Country - Democratic Republic of Congo|
|Secondary Classification: African Artwork, Ethnographic & Tribal Arts : African Art : Object Type - Mask|
|"Beauty and the Beasts - Kifwebe and Animal Masks of the Songye, Luba and Related Peoples", Marc Leo Felix wrties: "Related to function of these masks, among the Songye, Kifwebe masks are used for a variety of occasions...I will list here the various contexts in which the Songye could use their Kifwebe masks: - During initiation procedures worn by the leader of the initiation, by initiators, (by initiates, by initiated?), by circumcisers, by the guardians of the circumcision camp.|
- To celebrate seasonal events such as new moon, seeding of crops, first harvesting, first rain.
- To enforce social control policing, levying of taxes and fines, rendering of justice, execution.
- To educate and instruct mask-wearers in stage plays depicting the social do's and don'ts.
- To act as a mnemonic and moralistic device when maskers re-enact mythical or historical events from the past, or stage moralistic folktales based on animal and human characters.
- To honor the deceased at funerary ceremonies, maskers accompany and honor important members of society either at funerals or funeral commemorations.
- To sanctify nominations of titleholders, ritual specialist and enthronement of chiefs.
- To supervise communal duties such as ditch-cleaning, fortification, road and bridge building.
- During gathering of associations worn during meeting of members of brotherhoods, associations and societies.
- To solve crisis or conflict worn by a medium between the living and higher powers or spirits, to gain assistance in solving temporary crises such as war, strife, enmity, calamities and epidemics.- During hunting worn before or after the hunt, to conduct or supervise a communal hunt.
- During warfare to encourage and bless warriors, worn to bring good luck to a war campaign or lead warriors, used in emblem form carved on shields.
- Purification to cleanse polluted people or areas, healing to assist in the mental or physical healing process.
- Entertainment to entertain the community on the occasion of a public festival or festive occasion.
- Honoring to honor visitors or specific members of the community, witchcraft some maskers are said to be sorcerers and masks to contain magical powers, to dispense fertility and wealth Female masks are said to enhance fertility of humans, animals, and the earth; male masks would bring power and wealth."
"About the Songye Tribe: During the 16th century, the Songye migrated from the Shaba area, which is now the southern part of the D.R. Congo, and settled on the left bank of the Lualaba River, on a savannah and forest-covered plateau. Divided into numerous sub-groups, the 150,000 Songye people are governed by a central chief, the Yakitenge, whose role demands that he obey special restrictive laws, such as not showing grief, not drinking in public, and not shaking hands with men. In addition, local rulers, the Sultani Ya Muti, distribute plots of land to their villagers and an influential secret society, Bwadi Bwa Kifwebe, counterbalances their power. Unlike their neighbors, the Luba, the Songye tribe is a patriarchal society in which agriculture is central to the economy (Ref: Bacquart, "Tribal Arts of Africa"; Meyer, "Art and Craft in Africa", "Art and Power in the Central African Savanna", C Petridis, Cleveland Museum of Art.
"Herzog, African Masks, Visona, A History of Art in Africa; Bacquart, The Tribal Arts of Africa
|Provenance: Ex. Private Collection, France|
|Price:||Price on Request|
|Offered By:||CLOSED: African Artworks : 146 Lots : July 28-30|
|Contact:||The Curator's Eye|
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