Songye Tetela power figure


Major African statue from the Songe Tetela in the Democratic Republic of Congo. This impressive nkishi fetish is remarkable in several ways.

His slender body and slender limbs contrast with the more classic massive body of Songye power figures. The summit horn is still stuck in the skull, testifying to a ritual use in the context of protection of individuals (family or village), containing the bishimba, a magical charge carried out by the master of divination.

The slender face is covered with small brass nails conferring a specific power to this Tetela fetish: that of diverting lightning towards the protective figure and thus keeping it away from individuals. On the trunk and under the eyes, fine linear scarifications adorn the statue.

A twisted metal ring accompanies the ankles and other accessories adorn the character's waist. This piece has a beautiful patina of use, sometimes crusty, sometimes shiny from repeated use.

This is a very beautifully crafted protective nkishi of a very rare typology, in excellent condition, still including its traditional ritual accessories. All these elements make this statue an essential piece of African art for lovers of figures of power.

Museum piece from the collection of Dr. Kremer, Geneva, Switzerland.

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Data sheet

Presumed dating
Mid XXth century
56 cm (60 cm with support)
Ethnic group
Wood, accessories
Democratic Republic of the Congo
Dr. Kremer Collection, Switzerland

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