Songye (Basonge, Bayembe, Songe, Wasonga),
Shield. Among the Songye the kifwebe society functions as the organ of control in the service of the ruling elite. It helps the authorities maintain their economic and political power. The kifwebe masks count as some of this societys most powerful collaborators. It is said of these masks that their place is beyond the normal order of the universe. The kifwebe masks embodied supernatural forces and formerly functioned as agents of the ruling elite. The distinctive head in the center of this magnificent shield is modeled after the kifwebe mask form of the eastern Songye. Such shields were hung on the walls of the huts where the kifwebe masks were stored. The shields served a symbolic purpose.
Size: H. 39, W. 13 ½, D. 7½