Lot: 356

Fetish figure "biteki", 19th/ 20th Century

D. R. Congo, Yaka

Provenance Size Starting price / estimated price
Nancy & Gerhard Mennen Williams, Michigan, USA (as a gift to)
Detroit Institute of Arts, Michigan, USA (Accession no. "66.524")

Williams built his collection of West African art while serving as Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs during the 1960s. He donated a part of his collection to The Detroit Institute of Arts about 1968.
H: 7.1 inch 3000 EUR / 5000 EUR

wood, pigments, plant fibres/ leaves, fabric, inventory number "66.524", brittle fabric Small figures which are used as receptacles or supports for magical preparations are called "biteki". When they are charged with magical ingredients, the image becomes a particular type of "nkisi", the medicine-poison that "make ill" - "kukwata" or "make well" - "kubuka" by an invisible influence.


Bourgeois, Arthur P., Art of the Yaka and Suku, Paris 1984, p. 107
"Negro African Art, The Collection of Mr. and Mrs. G. Mennen Williams", Detroit Institute of Arts, 1966, p. 23, no. 110
Exhibited:

Detroit Institute of Arts: "Negro African Art, The Collection of Mr. and Mrs. G. Mennen Williams", Dec 16, 1966 - Feb 19, 1967