Kifwebe masks are worn on the night of the new moon, usually to honor ancestors or mark periods of social transformation. The Luba say, that Kifwebe masks have healing powers, too.
The Luba people tell the story of how these masks were originated by three spirits who emerged from a ditch close to a lake: the first one (female), was so fascinated by humans that she decided to go and live among them, while the remaining two (male), remained in the bush but would visit the village to impress the villagers with lively dances.
These type of masks are always unique and often come in different forms and sizes. However, you can distinguish them by the linear patterns on the face. Female masks are different from male masks, and this can be seen through geometric patterns (dots, triangles, crosses, etc) that are carved in order to represent beauty.
African masks are the most quintessential art form associated with the continent’s tribal art.
The variety of colors, shapes, styles and meanings found in Congolese masks and sculptures make it the center of African traditional tribal masks. There are at least fifty different styles of masks, all related to the tribes, including Mbala, Luba, Mbole, Lengola, Holo, Teke, Kongo and more.
In Congolese culture, wearers of masks at rituals are considered to lose their human identity to turn into the spirit represented by the mask, converting the wearer into a sort of medium that allows for the people to dialogue with spirits (usually their ancestors as well as nature-related spirits).
In most ceremonies (weddings, funerals, initiation rites, etc), masked dances and rituals are performed. They usually have a spiritual meaning and the artists who create the masks utilized in ceremonies earn a special status amongst their tribe.
***Please note that all our masks are vintage and handcrafted, therefore they display signs of use and wear.***
Diameter: 21 cms
Depth: 9 cms
Any questions, feel free to message me. I will be going to Congo (DR) soon, so custom orders are accepted and I can scout unique items for you!