Democratic Republic of the Congo
Nkishi power figure
Eki style, Songye
Carved wood and horn
Early 20th century
Height: 9 ½ in. (24 cm)
Ex collection Jeff Vander Straete, Brussels
Ex private collection, Brussels
Ex private collection, Paris
Fetishes, amulets (boanga or nganga) and power figures (nkishi) are omnipresent among the Songye. These ritual figures are said to bring wealth, fertility and success. They also serve as a form of protection against hostile forces, such as lightning or diseases. The antelope horn at the top of the head of the carved figure was the receptacle for the « medicine », transmitting strength and magiccal power to its owner.
This statuette with impressive volumes is in the same style (Eki) as two examples published in the reference book Songye: The Formidable Statuary of Central Africa by François Neyt, plates 40 & 41.