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Lot n° 28

Tetela Songye statue, DRC From the south-western...

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Tetela Songye statue, DRC From the south-western region of the Tetela territory, this sculpture is a schematic interpretation of Songye fetishes. The head reproduces a Kifwebe mask. Altered base. Erosions at the top. Fairly light matte patina. 34 x 14 cm Scattered throughout the Kasai basin, the Tetela of Mongo origin were the source of constant conflict with their neighbors. They were also heavily involved in the slave trade. Their highly diversified sculpture is marked by the influence of groups living in contact with them: in the north, their art was influenced by forest populations such as the Mongo, in the north-west by the Nkutschu, and in the west by the Binji and Mputu. Kuba traditions were also a source of inspiration, as were those of the Songye in the south-west. Their fetishes are kept out of sight. Animists, they seek to appease and direct the elements through the sorcerer Wichi and the priest Umpa. Their traditional currency of exchange, "dikonga", in the form of spearheads, has also helped to publicize the talents of their blacksmiths and those of the Nkutschu.