Fetish Figure (c. 1875 – 1900) by Yombe

Fetish Figure - Yombe - c. 1875 - 1900

Artwork Information

TitleFetish Figure
Datec. 1875 - 1900
MediumWood, iron, shell, and mixed media
Dimensions115.6 × 47 × 38.1 cm
Current LocationDetroit Institute of Arts

About Fetish Figure

Yombe people, known for their artistic prowess, create traditional fetish figures called minkisi. These figures often depict a human form with intricate details and have spiritual significance. They can be decorated with nails and fabric alongside glass or mirrors set in their abdomens, which signifies the ability to see beyond visible objects.

Among the Yombe’s minkisi figurines, Nkisi nkondi is particularly important as it can act as oaths, avengers, and guardians against evil. The Yombe female phemba statues are used in divinatory practices and fertility rites. Ancestor figures are also present in the Yombe tradition emphasizing the head and often having incised geometric motifs.

Yombe lineage or family sculptures have glazed abdomens with magical charges that designate them for specific purposes. The infertile or barren among them similarly make use of this artwork to bolster their chances at conception.

Other Artwork from Yombe

More Artwork from Artchive

Scroll to Top