BATEKE STYLE FETISH FIGURES, DRC style

While originating from the African continent, these fetishes are likely not created by the tribe who invented the design. The tribal attribution indicates the origin of the design, not the object.

 

Bateke style
Fetish 1
26" high
$800 

Bateke style
Fetish 2
24.5" high
$600 

Bateke style
Fetish 3
27" high
$400 

Bateke style
Fetish 4
27.5" high
$500

Bateke style
Fetish 5
24" high
$500

 

Bateke style
Fetish 6
19" high
$300

Bateke style
Fetish 8
19" high
$300

Bateke style
Fetish 9
19.5" high
$500

 Bateke style
Fetish 10
16.5" high
$400

Bateke style
Fetish 13
15.5" high
$500

 Bateke style
Fetish 15
14.5" high
$300

Bateke style
Fetish 16
15" high
$400

 

Bateke style
Fetish 17
14.5" high
$300

 

Bateke style
Fetish 18
14.5" high
$400

 

Bateke style
Fetish 19
14.5" high
$300

 

Bateke style
Fetish 29
20" high
$400

Bateke style
Fetish 22
13" high
$300

Bateke style
Fetish 23
13" high
$300 

Bateke style
Fetish 27
7.5" high
$200

Photographs © Hamill Gallery

BATEKE STYLE, FETISH FIGURES, 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.

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