Songye, Democratic Republic of the Congo
Small figures such as this example are used as protective amulets among the Songye. Classic features like its over-sized head, backswept shoulders, protruding belly and round base are reminiscent of the large village fetishes. The face is sensitively carved with naturalistic features. There are traces of 'bilongo' (magical medicine) still inside the head cavity. The surface is blackened from years of constant handling with oils; and there are some areas of erosion on the base and legs.
This figure stands 4.25" tall.