Tags for: Congolese, Luba: Kifwebe mask
  • Special Event

Kifwebe mask. Congolese, Luba. Wood, raffia, bark, pigment, and twine; 92.1 x 60.9 x 30.5 cm. Seattle Art Museum, Gift of Katherine White and the Boeing Company, 81.17.869.

Congolese, Luba: Kifwebe mask

Friday, March 25–Monday, June 13, 2016
Location:  108A Sub-Saharan
Gallery 108

About The Event

Generous loan from the Seattle Art Museum

This striking mask by an unidentified artist of the Luba people of the Democratic Republic of the Congo is one of more than 2,000 African works gifted to the Seattle Art Museum by Cleveland native Katherine Coryton White in 1980. The Cleveland Museum of Art’s own African collection is also largely the result of Ms. White’s generosity, and this mask was first exhibited in the United States at the CMA in 1968. Published and exhibited repeatedly since its appearance in the first monograph on the Luba people in 1913, this is undoubtedly one of the most famous Central African masks to have survived in any public institution. Among the Luba people, the masks of the kifwebe type were primarily danced with during rituals celebrating the appearance of the new moon. These lunar references establish important connections with a Luba genre of female bowl-bearing figures, an exquisite example of which was acquired by the Cleveland Museum of Art in 2010. Interestingly, in 1937-38 the Seattle mask and the Cleveland figure were both included in a landmark retrospective exhibition on Congolese art in Antwerp, Belgium.

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