N1S7S080S.jpg (28038 bytes)N1S7S080.jpg (27954 bytes)Songye (Basonge, Bayembe, Songe, Wasonga), Democratic Republic of the Congo

Horn fetish Nkishi. The 150,000 Songye settled in the southeast of the country have a strong interest in magic, which affects many aspects of their lives. The history of the Songye is closely linked to the Luba’s, to whom they are related through common ancestors. The Songye carvers excel in the production of fetishes and expressionistic masks. Songye fetishes Nkishi are usually male and stand on a circular base. On top of the head they have a horn reinforcing a disquieting appearance. The fetishist would make the boanga with magic ingredients, which he crumbled and mixed, thus obtaining a paste that was kept in an antelope horn hung from the roof of the house. The magic ingredients consist of a wide variety of animal, vegetal, mineral and human substances that activate and bring into play benevolent ancestral spirits. These ingredients are placed under the horn. The fetishes are intended to ward off evil, to preserve the tribe or the family from hostile powers, sorcerers or evil spirits, and to aid fertility. The fetishes only performed to placate spirits. They are integrated into the community, fed, anointed and sacrifice to, as appropriate. The meaning of the hollow circular body is not clear.

Material:  wood, tacks

Size:  H. 18”, W. 5”, D. 5”