Songye Mask, D.R. Congo
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Description of Significance:
This is a small mask the utilizes the angular Songye style. It is made from a soft wood that shows some age.
In the Songye language, a mask is a kifwebe: this term has been given to masks representing spirits and characterized by striations. The kifwebe masks embodied supernatural forces. The kifwebe society used them to ward off disaster or any threat. The masks, supplemented by a woven costume and a long beard of raffia bast, dance at various ceremonies. They are worn by men who act as police at the behest of a ruler, or to intimidate the enemy. This particular mask is a masculine mask, as it was carved with a central crest. The size of the crest determines the magic power of the mask. Mask, colors, and costume all have symbolic meaning. The dancer who wears the male mask will display aggressive and uncontrolled behavior with the aim of encouraging social conformity, whereas the dancer who wears the female mask display more gentle and controlled movements and is assumed to be associated with reproduction ceremonies. The use of white on the mask symbolizes positive concepts such as purity and peace, the moon and light. The mask had also the capacity to heal by means of the supernatural force it was supposed to incorporate.
Country of Origin:
- Hand carved in the D.R. Congo
- W:6'' H:9''
- Depth x Width x Height
- Indigenous wood
- Wall Hanging: the mask comes with a wire installed on the back for easy wall hanging.
About Antique African Art:
Hemingway Gallery regards antique African art as the best artistic expression of aesthetic beauty and storytelling throughout the known history of art. Aside from artistic taste, African art accrues value in different ways than other genres, including use in ceremonial settings as well as age. 50 years is regarded as old or antique when it comes to wood masks and totems. Hemingway Gallery provides both authoritative insight and context into each artifact in the collection, possessing and readily exhibiting direct, intimate knowledge of the source and pedigree. The goal is to preserve and curate one-of-a-kind artifacts of importance while creating a platform for the acquisition of spectacular unique pieces within financial reach.
Our pricing correlates directly to the asking prices of artists, artisans and art dealers in the various African countries we collect from and the costs of importing their artwork to the U.S. We need to change the idea that artists should be paid pennies for their fine art just because it comes from Africa. Paying a fair price in Africa is our number one priority and our pricing reflects that.
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