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

Songye figure (N° 20665)

Rare African Statuette Nkisi, nkishi (pl. mankishi ) camped bent-legged on a rounded base, head turned sideways. The cowrie-encrusted gaze realistically figures half-closed eyes, accentuating a menacing physiognomy. This type of figure was produced for ritual purposes in the Songye-Luba border region. Oiled, lustrous patina, shaded with black browns.
These protective fetishes for homes are among the most prized in Africa. The Nkisi plays the role of mediator between gods and men. The larger examples are collectively owned by 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 manner. Their history is inseparable from that of the Luba to whom they are related through common ancestors. The Songyes have created impressive statues with powerful features that 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, the divination allowed to discover the sorcerers and to bring clarifications on the causes of the misfortunes which struck the individuals.  

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OriginEx-collection française
Countryrdc ex zaire
Material(s)wood, corne
Height cm39
Width8 cm
Weight0.75 Kg
Socle includedYes

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