It is to François Neyt (1994) that we must turn to discover the possible location of this most subtle and enigmatic of kifwebe masks, which anticipates the hemispherical before becoming oval in outline. The raised ridge on the forehead points to its close association with the Songye mask of the same name, but the rounded conception is unmistakably Luba. The best known of the Luba kifwebe is the magnificent horned example at the Musée Royal de l'Afrique Centrale, Tervuren (Neyt, 1994, p.209), which was collected without provenance, the rounded forms of which contrast with the dramatic angularities of most Songye kifwebe.
When Neyt researched the Luba kifwebe masks (pp.200-209) he discovered that they are still used by the Songye but no longer by the majority of the Luba. Having been the most important mask in most societies it is now amongst the Songye more of an entertainment. He notes the curious fact recorded by Alan P. Merriam, F.M. Olbrechts, Albert Maesen and Mutimanwa Wenga-Mulayi, amongst others, that when the masks are danced by the Luba they speak Songye and when danced by the Songye they speak Kiluba, so at the beginning of the century it was already too late to research the exact origin of the genre, which is widespread amongst both groups. But the society and mask type is likely to have originated amongst the south-western Songye and north-eastern Luba. All are agreed that the term kifwebe should only be applied to the masks with the striated surfaces, but lately it is used by the Songye to refer to all masks.
W.F.B. Burton and A.P. Merriam relate how kifwebe masks were used to maintain power and extract goods as well as to intervene in conflicts between the Songye and Luba villages. They also assisted at the installation and funerals of chiefs as well as at various initiation rites, which sometimes involved circumcision. The striated surface and central crest appear to derive from the antelope bongo (tragelaphus scriptus), with its striped back and central black band from forehead to muzzle.