A BATEKE POWER FETISH FIGURE

Democratic Republic of Congo

Collected by Rédemporistes Missionaires, 1890-1910

Wood, 0.34 m

Fetishes were protective figures used by individuals, families, or whole communities. They were used to destroy or weaken evil spirits, prevent or cure illnesses, repel bad deeds, solemnize contracts or oath-taking, and decide arguments. A diviner or holy person would activate the statue, using magical substances. Fetishes gained power and were effective because people believed in them.

These figures were individually owned and served to protect or heal. Facial scarification patterns are identical to those of Bateke men. The figures would gain special power by the addition of organic material (Bonga), placed in a cavity in the body.

Price on request.