NEWSLETTER


Bruce Frank Primitive Art
New York City, NY
+1 917 733 9589

Power Figure

Songye, Dem. Rep. of Congo
Early 20th Century

Old American collection

Belief in witchcraft and sorcery was the basis for the creation of many sculptures, which acted as protective devices, in the Congo regions. These figures are more commonly known as power figures or fetishes. Songye figures are characterized by enlarged, sometimes hollow craniums and hands placed over the stomach, where the magical substance would be contained. This figure is beautifully carved with an extremely expressive face. The wood is very oxidized, giving off a dark brown encrusted patina. Multiple metal tacks have been pounded into the figure’s head and face. This is consistent with Songye power figures. The act of pounding metal nails into the sculpture was supposed to help release its magical properties. The duiker horn on top of its head is original to the piece and was used as a receptacle for magical substances.

Power Figure

Songye, Dem. Rep. of Congo
Early 20th Century

Old American collection

Belief in witchcraft and sorcery was the basis for the creation of many sculptures, which acted as protective devices, in the Congo regions. These figures are more commonly known as power figures or fetishes. Songye figures are characterized by enlarged, sometimes hollow craniums and hands placed over the stomach, where the magical substance would be contained. This figure is beautifully carved with an extremely expressive face. The wood is very oxidized, giving off a dark brown encrusted patina. Multiple metal tacks have been pounded into the figure’s head and face. This is consistent with Songye power figures. The act of pounding metal nails into the sculpture was supposed to help release its magical properties. The duiker horn on top of its head is original to the piece and was used as a receptacle for magical substances.

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