SONGYE POWER (FETISH) FIGURES 2, DRC

Old Songye power figures are rare. Despite their appearance, these figures show little evidence of age or use and were probably made to be sold.


SONGYE
Figure 42
21" high
$1200  

SONGYE
Figure 31
51.5" high
$800

SONGYE
Figure 35
31.5" high
$800

SONGYE
Figure 37
27" high
$700

SONGYE
Figure 38
24.5" high
$450

SONGYE
Figure 46
14" high
$500

SONGYE
Figure 49
10" high
$400

SONGYE
Figure 47
14" high
SOLD

SONGYE
Figure 50
9" high
SOLD

SONGYE
Figure 51
13" high
SOLD

Photographs © Hamill Gallery

SONGYE, POWER (FETISH) FIGURES 2, DRC

The Songye made power figures, Nkisi (singular) and Mankishi (plural), to combat witchcraft and sorcery. They were benign and were believed to bring good, promote fertility and success, vanquish enemies and protect from evil. Large ones were owned by and served the community; small ones were for individual families.

Adorned with additional objects, Bajimba, with magical properties (horns, skins, teeth, hair, feathers, beads, tacks, cloth, etc.), they gained their power not from the carver but from the Nganga, or spiritual leader. Their carving was considered secondary to their power. Often too powerful to touch, they were moved with long sticks. Although protective, these are confrontational objects, with a warrior's attitude.

Many of the features show a relationship to the masks of the Kifwebe association.

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