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Songye Protection Figure Four Faces Congo Africa 39 Inch

Regular Price: $2,500.00

Special Price: $750.00

Product #: 96890
US Shipping: $102.98
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Title Songye Protection Figure Four Faces Congo Africa 39 Inch
Type of Object statue; protection figure
Country of Origin Democratic Republic of Congo
People Songye
Materials Wood
Approximate Age Mid 20th century
Dimensions 39 inches tall x 11 inches diameter
Overall Condition Good. Some of our beads have traveled at least three continents, and have graced numerous owners. Small chips, corrosion, and pitting are a normal part of their patina attesting to their age and extensive use.
Damage/Repair cracks throughout, a few are repaired. scrapes, chips, dirt and general wear


Additional Information: An expressive and intricately carved statue, this carving is a protection figure.  With his 4 eyes, the figure is said to watch over the village in all directions.  The sculpture is taken from a single piece of dense, strong wood and weighs over 35 pounds.  The faces are carved with exceptional detail and consistently with known Songye motifs.  The pose is consistent as well, with hands rested on a round belly and a magical charge in the center.  This is truly a unique and magnificent carving, and it should be welcomed into a respectable collection.


The Songye live on the left bank of the Lualaba River in an area of savanna crossed by numerous major river systems. They have a long history of migration and cultural interchange with the Hemba, Kuba, Tetela, Luluwa and 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. Power figures among the Songye are known as buanga while the same the same figure is commonly called a ‘fetish’ when placed in Western collections with misplaced implications. Whereas Songye buanga figures are dedicated to positive ends early Europeans visitors saw them as ‘false gods – feticios to the Portuguese so that today Westerners call them ‘fetishes’!


Sculpture like this are known as Nkishi and often serve to control one s destiny, and forestall evil-doers or to work magic and most importantly to gain the attention of the spirit world. Among the Songye and other Bantu language speakers, sculpture such as this Nkishi serves as the contact point between the spirits and the Nganga; it is where the ritual activity of the diviner meets spiritual presence. 


Recommended Reading: Dunja Hersak, SONGYE MASKS AND SCULPTURE FIGURES