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A Luba male 'bifwebe' mask

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Directory: Hidden: Viewable: Pre 1940: item # 1111557

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michael cichon tribal arts
P.O. Box 5919
Bradenton, FL 34281
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A Luba male 'bifwebe' mask
These 'white masks' are used by the secret society known as 'Bifwebe'. The absence of scarification marks and a prominent crest indicates this mask is a male version. The type is found in the northern region of Luba territory and shows strong Songye influence. Such masks were once danced to celebrate the accession of a new chief or to mark the death of respected members of the 'Bifwebe' society. Their meaning has changed among the Luba today, becoming less enigmatic and less sacred. 14"H x 7"W. Made from a medium density wood, with organic white pigment applied. Condition is very good with insect damage and some old loss to the right edge of the mask, with patina over top. Two stable, vertical hairline cracks visible on front where mask sides meet the facial plane. Wonderful, softened surface from much handling and age. Provenance: Old European collection since the 1970's. Custom mounted.


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