Songye Figure

Democratic Republic of the Congo

Nkishi power figure

Carved wood, cowrie shell, hide, beads
Early 20th century
Height: 13 in. (33 cm)

Ex collection Leo Meurrens, Leuven (1905-1966)
Ex collection Pierre Dartevelle, Brussels
Ex private collection, New York

Price: on request

Afrique Centrale
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The Songye reside in the southeast of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, near the Lomami River in Central Africa. The political organization of the Songye is structured around the personality of their chief, a holy, benevolent figure endowed with magical-religious power. Secret societies structure social, political and religious life. Fetishes, amulets (boanga or nganga) and power figures (nkishi) are omnipresent among the Songye.

Regarding the provenance, Leo Meurrens (1905-1966) was a painter, sculptor and professor of Art at the Acadamey of Leuven.
A close friend of Frans Olbrechts (1899-1958), he notably designed the cover for Olbrecht’s book “Het Roode Land der Zwarte Kariatieden" devoted to Congo caryatids in 1935.