Africa Direct
Africa Direct

Songye Male Figure Nkishi African Art

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Title Songye Male Figure Nkishi Africa
Type of Object Carving, fetish
Country of Origin Democractic Republic of Congo
People Songye
Materials Wood
Approximate Age 20th century
Overall Condition Good. Most of our pieces have spent decades on at least two continents, and have been treasured by several owners.   Small splits, scrapes and cracks are a normal part of their patina attesting to their age and extensive use.  We examine each piece carefully when we receive it and report any damage we find in our listings.  Please look carefully at the pictures which may also reveal condition and damage.

Additional Information: The Songye live on the left bank of the Lualaba River, an area of savanna crossed by numerous major river systems. They have a long history of migration and cultural interchange especially with the Luba from whom they are said to have originated. Magical beliefs and practice are widespread among the Songye people who use figures such as this on family or village altars where they contact the spirits of ancestors, nature spirits and where offerings and prayers are given.Among the Songye power figures known by them as buanga, and commonly called fetish figures, often have different materials attached to them including animal skins, nails, strips of metal, magical substances or whatever the owner specialist considers important to give the figure power to act. Among the Songye magical substances that load a figure with power are called bishimba. The specialist who uses the figure is known as an nganga, literally a specialist (doctor) who can cure, divine or direct magical power against others.

Recommended Reading: Dunja Hersak, SONGYE MASKS AND FIGURE SCULPTURE