Tribal art > African Chair > Songye stool
Songye Luhuna stool (N° 20406)
In southwestern Congo, and in Angola and Zambia, each chief had a seat with a female caryatid, an image of fecundity, fertility, and matrilineal filiation. However, it is the motif of the kifwebe mask that replaces the caryatid here. This type of seat could also serve as a pedestal for Songye mankishi (sing. nkishi ) fetishes. These seats were sometimes loaded with a bishimba at the head, umbilicus or in the base.
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Indigenous restorations using aluminum foil. Two-tone lustrous patina. Cracks.
The Songye came from the Shaba region of the DRC and settled between the Lualaba and Sankuru rivers in the middle of the savannah and forests. They are governed by the yakitengé and by local chiefs. The Bwadi secret society, however, counterbalances their power. (Luba, F. Neyt)
Three variants of the Kifwebe mask (pl. Bifwebe) or "chasing death" (Roberts) can be distinguished: the masculine (kilume) generally with a high crest, the feminine (kikashi) with a very low crest or even absent, and finally the largest incarnating power (kia ndoshi).
Litt. Le Sensible et la Force" ed. Royal Museum of Central Africa
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