African art > Used objects, pulleys, boxes, loom, awale > Songye Fetish

Songye Divination Cup (N° 19964)

This cup from which sprang the bust of a fetiche nkishi songye was doomed to divinatory use. Various elements, shells, seeds, ossicles, frequently came to join the object. The magic charge bishimba was inserted into the cavity of the skull if the abdomen did not have it. Light brown patina coated with kaolin. Crack, erosion.

These protective fetishes for homes are among the most popular in Africa. Nkisi plays the role of mediator between gods and men. Large specimens are the collective property of an entire village, while smaller figures belong to an individual or family. 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. The Songyes have created impressive statues with powerful features are often used during secret ceremonies, covered with accessories such as feathers, skin and a horn full of magical charge.
Alers present in their society, divination made it possible to discover the sorcerers and to shed light on the causes of the misfortunes that afflicted individuals.  

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OriginEx-collection française
EthnySongye
Countryrdc ex zaire
Material(s)wood
Height27
Width16
Weight0.95 Kg
Estimated dating2ème halfxx°

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