Songye peoples / Power Figure / 19th-20th centurySongye peoples
Power Figure
19th-20th century

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Creator Nationality: African; Central African; Congolese; Songye
Creator Name-CRT: Songye peoples
Title: Power Figure
View: Front view
Creation Start Date: 1800
Creation End Date: 1999
Creation Date: 19th-20th century
Object Type: Sculpture
Materials and Techniques: Wood, copper, brass, iron, fiber, snakeskin, leather, fur, feathers, earth, resin
Dimensions: H. 39 in. (99.1 cm)
AMICA Contributor: The Metropolitan Museum of Art
Owner Location: New York, New York, USA
ID Number: 1978.409
Credit Line: Purchase, Mrs. Charles Engelhard and Mary R. Morgan Gifts and Rogers Fund, 1978

A Songye 'nganga,' or religious specialist, has endowed this carved figure with spiritual powers by inserting symbolic substances-animal, vegetable, and mineral-into its head, abdomen, and shoulders, and by attaching bundles of similar ingredients to its chest, neck, and feet. Offerings to ancestral spirits who bestow fertility and provide protection against disease and misfortune are still visible in the sculpture's mouth. A power figure of this size is owned communally by the members of a Songye village, who consult it regularly at public ceremonies.

AMICA ID: MMA_.1978.409
AMICA Library Year: 2000
Media Metadata Rights: Copyright The Metropolitan Museum of Art

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