BATEKE FETISH FIGURES ARCHIVES, DRC

Despite their appearance, the fetishes below show no evidence of age or use and were probably made to be sold.

The figures below have been sold and are left here for reference and educational purposes.

For UNSOLD Bateke Fetish Figures,

GO TO BATEKE FETISH FIGURES 1 PAGE

GO TO BATEKE FETISH FIGURES 2 PAGE


 

Bateke
Fetish 12
SOLD

 

 Bateke
Fetish 14
SOLD

 

Bateke
Fetish 11
SOLD

Bateke
Fetish 7
SOLD

 

Bateke
Fetish 20
SOLD

 

Bateke
Fetish 26
SOLD

Bateke
Fetish 28
SOLD

Bateke
Fetish 21
SOLD

Photographs © Hamill Gallery

BATEKE, FETISH FIGURES ARCHIVES, DRC

Fetishes were protective figures used by individuals, families, or whole communities. They were used to destroy or weaken evil spirits, prevent or cure illnesses, repel bad deeds, solemnize contracts or oath-taking, and decide arguments. A diviner or holy person would activate the statue, using magical substances. Fetishes gained power and were effective because people believed in them.

These small figures were individually owned and served to protect, assist or heal. Facial scarification patterns are identical to those of Bateke men. The figures gain special power by the addition of organic material (Bonga), placed in a cavity in the body or encased in a clay or cloth mantle enclosing most of the body. Each figure has its own specific purpose, known only to its owner. If a fetish successfully demonstrates its power, its owner may detach Bonga, break it into several pieces and insert fragments into other figures. He will then sell new figures to neighboring families, leaving the original statue with an emaciated body. The statues with Bonga are called Butti; without Bonga they are called Tege.

GO TO BATEKE FETISH FIGURES 1 PAGE

GO TO BATEKE FETISH FIGURES 2 PAGE

GO TO BATEKE ART PAGE

GO TO FETISH! EXHIBITION PAGE

GO TO AFRICAN FETISHES PAGE

GO TO FETISHES (MISCELLANEOUS) PAGE

GO TO AFRICAN FIGURES PAGE

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