• African power figure nkishi from Congo
  • Large Songye Nkishi power figure

Large Songye Nkishi power figure


Art and power in the Central African savanna

This large African Songye statue is part of the mankishi power fetishes. These fetishes are known in African art for their typical style with very often a more or less well preserved summit horn, which is the case here since it is whole and still blocked by a piece of red fabric.

Inside the horn, the nganga, the witch doctor in charge of preparing the statue once sculpted, inserted various materials and magic concoctions.

Similarly, he placed accessories such as we see on the body of the nkishi: necklaces of glass beads, a loincloth, bells, calabashes and other cords.

This Nkishi Songye statue is remarkably well preserved. We also observe on its abdomen an extruded umbilicus which seems covered with a piece of leather.

The abdomen was also a prime location to insert a magical charge.

Given its size, this fetish was probably used to protect a family or a small village. With his accessories, his magical power giving him the ability to repel mischievous spirits and bad luck.

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Data sheet

Presumed dating
20th c.
74 cm
Ethnic group
Songye / Basongye
Wood, accessories
Democratic Republic of the Congo
Tribal art collection Belgium

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