You are here

African Mask

Download File

Summary:
This is a Songye mask. The Songye people live in Democratic Republic of Congo. They are a relatively small tribe with a central chief and many secret societies. This mask or kifewebe, as masks are called in the Songye language, is of a male figure. This is determined by the center crest on its head. It represents a spirit and bears striations which is one of the chief differentiators of Songye masks. A mask like this would have been used by the kifewebe society to ward off evil, avert disaster and heal the sick. When worn in dances, it serves the dancer for its connotation of aggression to help the chief maintain order and control. This mask is believed to embody supernatural forces and the magic it carries is decided by the size of its crest. The white color of the striations symbolizes peace and purity while the red could mean any of danger, fire, blood, evil, courage or fortitude. Songye masks are easily identified by their striations and their shapes. The eyes, noses and mouths are carved in high relief. Often, the lips form star-shaped puckers to give the masks the impression of whistling or pouting.
Title: African Mask.
0 views
Type of Resource: still image
Genre: masks
photographs
color photographs
Date Created: [unknown]
Extent: 54 x 22 x 33 cm
Summary: This is a Songye mask. The Songye people live in Democratic Republic of Congo. They are a relatively small tribe with a central chief and many secret societies. This mask or kifewebe, as masks are called in the Songye language, is of a male figure. This is determined by the center crest on its head. It represents a spirit and bears striations which is one of the chief differentiators of Songye masks. A mask like this would have been used by the kifewebe society to ward off evil, avert disaster and heal the sick. When worn in dances, it serves the dancer for its connotation of aggression to help the chief maintain order and control. This mask is believed to embody supernatural forces and the magic it carries is decided by the size of its crest. The white color of the striations symbolizes peace and purity while the red could mean any of danger, fire, blood, evil, courage or fortitude. Songye masks are easily identified by their striations and their shapes. The eyes, noses and mouths are carved in high relief. Often, the lips form star-shaped puckers to give the masks the impression of whistling or pouting.
Identifier: BC004 (IID), 2014 (local)
Subject(s): Masks -- Congo (Democratic Republic)
Songye (African people) -- Masks
Masks, Songye
Congo (Democratic Republic)
Songye (African people)
Held by: Broward College Museum Collection
Persistent Link to This Record: http://purl.flvc.org/broward/fd/BC004
Use and Reproduction: Copyright © Broward College. All rights reserved. Content is the property of Broward College and is protected by United States copyright and trademark laws. The content and text may not be copied, translated or distributed in any manner (electronic, web or printed) without the prior written consent of Broward College with the exception of properly-attributed quotations and other "fair use" exemptions provided for under copyright law. All scanned page images (of books, journals, newspapers, magazines and pamphlets) produced by Broward College, or its predecessors (Junior College of Broward County, Broward Junior College, Broward Community College) are subject to Copyright Law, and may be not used without restriction for any purpose whatsoever.
Owner Institution: Broward