Songye Peoples, Democratic Republic of the Congo
H: 42 inches, W: 17 inches
Material: Wood, Twine/Raffia
The Songye peoples, who migrated from the Shaba region around the sixteenth century, are related to the Luba peoples through common ancestors. They produce large number of figures, masks, and other objects like shields belonging to the royal household. A powerful shield of this type with elephant in the center represents strength, power, and royalty. The use of kaolin (white clay) around the elephant symbolizes posititve concepts such as purity and peace. This piece shows a nice aged patina, with obvious sign of slight damaged to the woven raffia on the side of the shield. This is due to constant use of the shield, most probaby in dancing during royal festivals. Nevertheless, the shield is in perfect condition.