African art > Fetish > Songye Fetish

Songye Nkisi fetish figure (N° 18844)

Statuette Nkisi, nkishi (pl. mankishi )whose top horn is intact. In the umbilical cup was housed the magical charge bishimba, also present in the horn. The power of the fetish, according to Songye beliefs, would indeed be enhanced by the presence of its accessories, such as nails and cords. Light brown patina.
These protection fetishes for homes are among the most popular in Africa. The Nkisi plays the role of mediator between gods and men. The large specimens are the collective property of an entire village, while the smaller figures belong to an individual or a family. In the sixteenth century, the Songyes migrated from the Shaba region to settle on the left bank of the Lualaba River. 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 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.
Very present in their society, divination made it possible to discover wizards and to shed light on the causes of the misfortunes that struck individuals.  

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Originex-collection britannique
EthnySongye
Countryrdc ex zaire
Material(s)wood, metal, textile
Height21
Width5
Weight0.15 Kg
Estimated datingmid-xx°

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