African art > The fetish, this emblematic object of primitive art > Vodou Fetish
Vodou Fetish (N° 20424)
Strong" objects of the voodoo cult within African art
Emerging from a heterogeneous heap of ropes, chains and wooden sticks, this sculpture, of which only the head would appear, remains for the Vodou of Benin an active force, capable of protecting or healing. Ritual crusty coating mixed with indigo pigments.
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This botchio (from bo : "evil spell" in Fon, and tchio , "corpse") erected at the top of a pole was set up at the entrance to the village or a house in order to ward off any threat, physical or spiritual. Some of them had minimalist forms, barely sketched around a central trunk. The multitude of fon gods (the vodun), similar to those of the Yoruba under different names, are represented by fetishes of all shapes and nature. Their shrines are found in Togo, Dahomey, and western Nigeria. Statuettes embodying the legba , protectors of the home, are often attached to them. The faithful administer daily offerings and libations to them, supposedly to activate their power.
The Fon are currently found in a part of the Republic of Benin called the kingdom of Dahomay. According to legend, a princess of Yoruba origin created this kingdom before the 17th century.
Their culture and stylistic characteristics are related to those of neighboring ethnic groups all located in a lagoon region in the east of the Ivory Coast.
These ethnic groups have the same social structure: a society led by a chief where the age of the men determines their social position.
Among them, one finds in particular the voodoo or vodun , a religious cult whose name comes from a variant of the Yoruba word meaning "god".