Songye Nkisi figure


This African statue belongs to the Mankishi (sg.Nkishi) carved by the Songye in African art. These so-called power figures range from a few centimeters high to sometimes more than a meter for larger ones. Depending on their size, they were intended for individual or collective protection.

This one of average superior size is endowed with a beautiful expressive facies. The highlighted extruded mouth draws attention to the power of speech, here in a context of protection against misfortune, lightning and bad luck. There is a horn embedded in the skull. Inside, the nganga or wizard placed a magic mixture (bishimba) based on organic matter, animal or mineral. The horn of this figure Nkisi was sawn, this practice was used to desacralize the room after his life was over.

Thus, this very beautiful Belgian private collection figure has indeed been used.

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Data sheet

Presumed dating
Circa 1940
48 x 10 cm
Ethnic group
Songye / Basongye
Wood, sacrificial materials
Democratic Republic of the Congo
Tribal art collection Belgium

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