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

Songye Kalebwe fetish statuette (N° 16864)

This statuette, decorated with skins, pearl necklaces and ropes of vegetable fibers, was moved by stems placed under the arms. The head, from which rises a horn filled with magical substances blocked by fabric, borrows the appearance of the Songye Kifwebe mask.
Thiri variants of this mask Kifwebe (pl. Bifwebe) or "chasser mort" (Roberts) stand out: the masculine (kilume) usually with a high crest, the feminine (kikashi) with a very low crest see absent, and finally the greatest embodying power (kia ndoshi). This type of mask, still used today, appears to come from the border area between the northern Luba and the Southeastern Songye.
Neats of various origins were introduced into the abdomen of fetishes, into the horn, sometimes also in bags attached to the loincloth, in order to strengthen the power of the object. Textiles, feathers and necklaces were also necessary attributes to guard against witchcraft. The Songye s from the Shaba region of the DRC and settled along the Lualaba River amidst savannah and forests. 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. Very 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. They are governed by the yakitengé and by local leaders. The secret society Bwami however, counterbalances their power. Their male masks, with occult powers, were displayed in punitive and disciplinary expeditions. The 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.  

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Originex-collection française.
Material(s)wood, corne et peau animales, textile
Weight0.20 Kg

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