Fetish - Wood - Nkishi - Songye - Congo DRC

Fetish - Wood - Nkishi - Songye - Congo DRC
1st half 20th century - Good

An impressive Songye Nkishi, first half XXth century, complete with charges.

Provenance: Gaethan Schoonbroodt, Verviers.

H= 56cm. Wood, dried out animal skin, horn, metal inserts holding the skin on the forehead, raphia around the waist .

insect damages on the side. (see pictures)

This imposing standing figure, is the joint creation of a skilled carver and a trained ritual practitioner, or Nganga. Across Central Africa, such ritual specialists are major patrons of such power objects.

Once completed, the nkishi was kept in a special enclosure positioned in a highly visible location, such as the center of the village or near the chief’s house. It was cared for by a guardian who also served as an interpreter for the nkishi whose messages were received through dreams or spirit possession.

Further reading
Hersak, Dunja. 1986. Songye. Masks and Figure Sculpture. London: Ethnographica.

Hersak, Dunja. 2010. "Reviewing power, process, and statement: the case of Songye figures". African Arts. 43: 38-51.

Neyt, François. 2009. Songye: The Formidable Statuary of Central Africa. Munich: Prestel.

Petridis, Constantine. 2009. Art and power in the central African Savanna: Luba, Songye, Chokwe, Luluwa. Cleveland, Ohio: Cleveland Museum of Art.

Lot details
Indigenous object name
Ethnic group/ culture
Region/ country
Congo DRC
1st half 20th century
Sold with stand
56×12×17 cm
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