Statue Songye
Nkishi
Royal Museum for Central Africa
Inv. EO.1951.10.1

OBJECT 3

Statue Songye
Community statue protecting against witchcraft and lightning

The primary role of large community mankishi (sing. nkishi) such as this one is to ensure the fertility of the women in the village, but they can also protect the village against witchcraft or lightning. Right after being sculpted, the status is still just a piece of wood. It is only when the nganga (ritual specialist) inserts bishimba ingredients (ground mixtures of animal, plant, and mineral substances) into the head and belly, and decorates it with other trappings, that it acquires its powers.
Materials: wood, seeds, feathers, shells, horn, vegetable fibre, unidentified metal, beads
Collection site: Lomami.

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