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

Songye statue (N° 13271)

African statue Nkisi , nkishi (pl. mankishi ) hermaphrodite of Songye, it has a massive head that supports a ringed neck. The arms are positioned around a protruding abdomen.  The absence of a summit horn is noteworthy. The peculiarity of these fascinating tribal figures most often lies in the angular treatment of the form, the imposing triangular face that takes up here the face of the African mask kifwebe, the mouth cracks spread in grin, and the attitude deported to the front of the bulging belly. Brown patina, slightly sainized. Here, the neck is surrounded by a necklace of colored beads and the protruding abdomen is devoid of magic charge bishimba. The canvas pudding on the hips is supposed to determine the character's rank and does not contain relics. Black wooden base on option. These home protection fetishes are among the most prized in Africa. Nkisi plays the role of mediator between God and humans, charged with protecting against different evils. Large copies are the collective property of an entire village, and the smaller figures belong to an individual or a 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. Very present in their society, divination allowed to discover the sorcerers and to shed light on the causes of the plagues that struck individuals. (ref.: Treasures of Africa, Tervuren Museum, ed. De Vries-Brouwers)  

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Originex collection Heinzmat
Material(s)wood, plant fibre, perles
Height cm46
Width14 cm
Weight2.30 Kg
Estimated datingmid-xx°
Socle inclusOptional

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