African art > The fetish, this emblematic object of primitive art > Téké fetish
Teke Biteke fetish statue (N° 20172)
The bust of this statuette is spherical, ritually charged with magical ingredients named "Bonga" or "bilongo", draped with different textiles on which a thick crusty coating agglomerates. The face is traditionally streaked with scarifications. Shaded brown patina.
Established between the Democratic Republic of the Congo, the Republic of the Congo and Gabon, the Téké were organized into chiefdoms whose head was often chosen from among the blacksmiths. The head of the family, mfumu , had the right of life or death over his family, whose importance determined his prestige. The head of the clan, ngantsié , for his part, kept the great protective fetish tar mantsié , which oversaw all ceremonies. It was the powerful witch doctor and diviner who "loaded" the individual statuettes with magical elements, in return for payment. It was also according to his directives that the ancestors were worshipped. Statues without magical charges were named nkiba, janiform statues embodying chiefs pwaw .
The statuettes, named mutinu bmmba , matomba or butti , were endowed with an apotropaic function or watched over the proper conduct of childbirth, depending on the case. Bilongo were sometimes extracted from the objects, leaving them bloodless, and incorporated into new sculptures to be sold to other families.
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|Country||rdc ex zaire|
|Material(s)||wood, textile, verre|
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