Songye blacksmith bellows with four chambers.
Among the Songye, and in Africa more generally, blacksmiths are thought to work magic by transforming raw material to a finished tool or weapon, and the fire they use is also considered to be a spiritual force. Representing ancestral presence, which is often associated with wind, the head ont his bellows reinforces the mystical role of the smith.
Rhythmic pumping of leather diaphragms of skin that once covered the four chambers forced air through the long shaft and clay or metal tubes into the wood to increase the intensity of the fire.
Very clear indication of repeated long time use. Reparation with metal cover on the canal under the bellow where the air canal became thin after long use and fire heating.
The fibre strings that once kept the leather covers in place are still present. The anthropomorhic figure may have been repaired or added later. Underside shows also clear signs of use and age. Item is still in strong condition and has an easthetic look.
Approximate age 1970-1980.
The item was acquired in the early 1990s in Zaire.
Ex Dutch private collection.
- Songye blacksmith bellows
- Region/ country
- Congo DRC
- 2nd half 20th century
- In good condition - restored
- Sold with stand
- 62×35×15 cm
- 4200 g