220606 - ANTIQUE Tribal used African Songye statue - Congo.


antique Expressive African statue from the Songye, Congo.

This type of statues serves the Kifwebe secret society and embodies a protecting spirit.

This Nice Songye statue was collected between 1920 and 1940 and ended up in my private collection in 2006.

Hand carved from a single piece of wood and about 100 years old or older.

Size: 19 cm high.

During the 16th century, the Songye migrated from the Shaba area, which is now the southern part of the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Their history is closely linked to the Luba's, to whom the Songye are related through common ancestors. Having waged war against one another for a long time, the Songye and Luba later formed an alliance to fight the Arabs. They settled on the left bank of the Lualaba River, on a savanna and forest-covered plateau. Divided into many subgroups, the 150,000 Songye people are governed by a central chief assisted by innumerable secret societies.

The Songye traditionally relied mostly on farming and hunting for subsistence. Because the rivers were associated with the spirits of deceased chiefs who were often buried in them, fishing was not practiced except in times of great need. The artistic wares of the Songye, including pottery made by women and weaving and metalworking done by men, were traded extensively with their neighbors.