African art > African statues : tribal fetish, maternity > Statue Songye
Songye Fetish Statue (N° 14057)
Fetishes in The African Art of Songye.Magic Sculpture named Nkisi , nkishi (pl. mankishi ), it is a protective fetish of the Songye, composed of a character perched on a hybrid being, horned, with a menacing face. A large horn, in which magical elements ( bajimba) were introduced, was placed in the center of the tiara which it sports, among smaller elements of the same nature, one last one rising from its abdomen. Other cavities on the statues could also hold apotropaic ingredients. The large digitized hands highlight the abdominal prominence, a witness to lineage. Wicker strips, firmly coiled, hold under the arms of the effigy of the sticks that allowed its transport. Brilliant patina, which is locally mative lying with sandy residue.
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These home protection fetishes are among the most prized in Africa. They could not be touched directly, which is why they were held with rods. Nkishi plays the role of mediator between gods and humans in the African culture. Large copies are the collective property of an entire village, but the smaller figures belong to an individual or family and are carved according to the instructions of the nganga . In the 16th century, the Songyes migrated from the Shaba region to settle on the left bank of the Lualaba. 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. Considered experts in the field, the Songyes also provided fetishes to the Kuba Royal Court.
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