Power Figure
Songye, Congo, 19th century
PROVENANCE: acquired by Evelyn Annenberg Jaffe Hall from Aaron Furman, NY, April 18, 1967. Then by descent to present owner.

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. Care has been taken to carve the minute details of the figure, such as individual fingers and toes. Cut marks are visible on the figures arms and back, all of which are most likely original to the sculpture.The wood is very oxidized, giving off a light and shiny patina. Multiple metal nails have been pounded into the figure's cranium. This is consistent with Songye power figures. The act of pounding metal nails into the sculpture was supposed to help release it's magical properties. Height: 8 1/4" in.
IN 12-12-13 / SOLD