Tribal art > African fetish > Songye fetish
Songye Nkisi fetish statue (N° 20604)
Fetish statue Nkisi , nkishi (pl. mankishi ) anthropomorphic of the most fascinating, with a piercing gaze encrusted with cowries. The cone-shaped mouth reinforces the expressiveness of the face. A horn springs from the large head extended by a beard. The umbilicus and the beard are underlined by nails.
Dark satin patina. Desiccation cracks and chips.
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These protective fetishes for homes are among the most prized in Africa. The Nkisi plays the role of mediator between gods and men. The large examples are the collective property of an entire village, while the smaller figures belong to an individual or a family. 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.