African art > The fetish, this emblematic object of primitive art > Songye statue
Songye statue (N° 22199)
Curved masses punctuated by angles for this Songye statuette devoid of accessories.
A mahogany-brown, oiled patina reveals the grain of the wood.
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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 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 the misfortunes that struck individuals.
Lit. : "The Sensible and the Force" ed. Royal Museum for Central Africa