African art > The fetish, this emblematic object of primitive art > Songye Fetish

Fetish statue Nkishi of Songye (N° 17221)

Extravagant feet protrude from the circular promontory on which this fetish Nkisi , nkishi (pl. mankishi), carved in angular volumes, is established. The hands highlight a protruding abdomen, witness to the lineage. A ritual magic charge of organic or vegetable ingredients was usually introduced into the horn at the top. Checkerboard scarifications bear witness to the influence of neighbouring luba. Brown patina nuanced with grey. Kaolin residue.
These protective fetishes for homes are among the most popular in Africa. Nkisi plays the role of mediator between gods and men. Large specimens are the collective property of an entire village, while smaller figures belong to an individual or family. In the 16th century, the Songyes migrated from the Shaba region to settle on the left bank of the Lualaba. Their society is organized in a patriarchal way. Their history is inseparable from that of the Luba to whom they are related through common ancestors.
The Songyes have created impressive statues with powerful features are often used during secret ceremonies, covered with accessories such as feathers, skin and a horn full of magical charge.
Alers present in their society, divination made it possible to discover the sorcerers and to shed light on the causes of the misfortunes that afflicted individuals.  

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OriginCollection monégasque
Countryrdc ex zaire
Material(s)wood dur et lourd, corne animale
Weight3.30 Kg
Estimated datingmid-xx°

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