African art > The fetish, this emblematic object of primitive art > Songye fetish
Songye Nkishi Kalebwe Fetish (N° 20539)
Barded with a heterogeneous paraphernalia composed of sculpted miniatures, large shells, metallic bells and chains, cords and raffia textile, this Songye fetish was moved thanks to rods placed under the arms. The head, carried on a high ringed neck, is carved in the image of the Songye Kifwebe mask.
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The Songye came from the Shaba region of the DRC and settled along the Lualaba River in the middle of the savannah and forests. Their society is organized in a patriarchal manner. 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 sorcerers and to shed light on the causes of misfortunes that befell individuals.
They were governed by the yakitengé and by local chiefs. The secret society Bwami, however, counterbalances their power. Their male masks, with occult powers, were displayed during punitive and disciplinary expeditions.
The Nkisi acts as a mediator between gods and men. The larger examples are collectively owned by an entire village, while the smaller figures belong to an individual or family.
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|Country||rdc ex zaire|
|Material(s)||wood, metal, plant fibre, etc...|
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