African art > African statues : tribal fetish, maternity > Songye fetish

Songye Nkishi fetish figure (N° 20257)

This carved ritual figure, Nkisi, nkishi (pl. mankishi ), whose face is plated with metal adopts a radical posture.
The substances making up the magical charge bishimba were introduced into the skull cavity if the abdomen did not have one. Symbolic accessories, metal, quolifichets, etc... came to increase the power of the fetish.
Glossy black patina. Erosions of the base. 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 Ghisolfi
Countryrdc ex zaire
Material(s)wood, plumes, fourrure
Weight0.60 Kg
Estimated datingmid-xx°

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