Mask (Kifwebe)

Mask (Kifwebe)

c. 1930s

Wood and paint

Overall: 71.2 cm (28 1/16 in.)

Purchase from the J. H. Wade Fund 1972.2

Location

Did you know?

The three-colored stripes on this kifwebe mask visually link it to powerful and dangerous animals including zebras, snakes, lions, and porcupines; not all of these animals are local to where the Songye peoples live.

Description

The closely spaced, painted grooves on this kifwebe mask accentuate the contours of the mask itself. The colors are mixed with sacred substances that activate the mask and help induce the wearer to enter a state of being between human and spirit. The theme of transformation may be inherent in the form of the mask itself, which recalls, in an abstracted way, some of the distinctive traits of the chameleon—a supreme symbol of transformative power.

See also
Collection: 
African Art
Department: 
African Art
Type of artwork: 
Mask

Contact us

The information about this object, including provenance information, is based on historic information and may not be currently accurate or complete. Research on objects is an ongoing process, but the information about this object may not reflect the most current information available to CMA. If you notice a mistake or have additional information about this object, please email collectionsdata@clevelandart.org.

To request more information about this object, study images, or bibliography, contact the Ingalls Library Reference Desk.

Is something not working on this page? Please email help.website@clevelandart.org.

Request a digital file from Image Services that is not available through CC0, a detail image, or any image with a color bar. If you have questions about requesting an image, please email imageservices@clevelandart.org.