African art > African fetish > Statue Teke
Fetish Téké Matomba (N° 14601)
Four statuettes have a common, spherical trunk, in which the magic charge named " Bonga " or "bilongo" is wrapped in different textiles. The faces are wearing a conical, rimmed hat, highlighted with a red cloth. Satin brown patina, abrasions and desication crack. Established between the Democratic Republic of Congo, the Republic of Congo and Gabon, the Téké were organized as chiefdoms, the leader of which was often chosen among the blacksmiths. The head of the family, mfumu , had the right to life or death over his family whose importance determined his prestige. The clan leader, ngantsié , kept the great protective fetish tar mantsié which oversaw all ceremonies. It is the powerful sorcerer-healer and soothsayer who loaded the individual statuettes with magical elements, for a fee. It was also according to his instructions that worship was given to ancestors. The statues without magic charge were named nkiba, the janiform statues embodying chiefs pwaw . The statuettes, named mutinu bmmba , matomba or butti , had an apotropaic function or, as appropriate, ensured the smooth delivery. The bilongo were sometimes extracted from the objects, leaving them exhausted, and attached to new sculptures to be sold to other families. Their secret society, kidumu , used circular flat masks adorned with polychrome geometric patterns.
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Ref.: "Fleuve Congo" F. Neyt; "The Tribal Art of Black Africa" ed. Assouline
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