African art > The fetish, this emblematic object of primitive art > Nkishi statue

Nkishi statue (N° 23197)

The Nkishi figures of the Songye are renowned for their singular plasticity, such as this human sculpture with a face displaying a toothless grin. The excess is also inscribed in the lower part of the face, the long fingers provocatively holding the bulb of the abdomen, huge feet overhanging the cylindrical base. Satin black patina. Desication crack.
The Songye fetish, magic sculpture Nkisi, nkishi (pl. mankishi), plays among the Songye the role of mediator between gods and men. The large specimens are the collective property of an entire village, the smaller figures belonging to an individual or a family. In the 16th century, the Songyes migrated from the Shaba region to settle in Kasai, Katanga and South Kivu. Their society is organized in a patriarchal way. Their history is inseparable from that of the Luba to which they are related through common ancestors. Very present in their society, divination made it possible to discover sorcerers and to shed light on the causes of the misfortunes that struck individuals.
Lit. : "The Sensible and the Force" ed. Royal Museum for Central Africa  


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OriginEx-collection belge
Countryrdc ex zaire
Height cm34
Width10 cm
Weight0.95 Kg
Estimated datingcirca 1960

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