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Oracle Figure

Object Number:AF424
Current Location: Collections Storage
Culture:Bushongo
Provenience: Zaire
Kasai District
Belgian Congo
Section:African
Materials:Wood
Iconography:Pig
Height: 6.2 cm
Length: 34.7 cm
Width: 5.6 cm
Credit Line:Purchased from J. F. G. Umlauff, 1912
Other Number:106 - Field No SF

Description

Zoomorphic oracle figure in the form of a wooden pig; elongated form; oval shaped eyes with a horizantal slit across center; ears protrude from the side of face; snout is flat ant end with two nostrils and a closed mouth; neck is incised with a checkered pattern and two rings; a vertical line in the center top of head; two rings incised around the nesk and tail which are black in colo; body of object is retangular with a flattened back; interwoven geometric designs carved on both side of object; four legs, each one incised with vertical lines; tails protrudes outwards and there is a hole directly below; a ring is carved on the bottom center of stomach; small hole on the one in the center of the right side front foot and second one on the rear left foot; object is light brown in color, except for the snout.

The medicine-man who employs these objects and receives a fee for his services is consulted in cases of illness and of theft. In the former case he takes a small wooden disc, moistens it, and rubs it up and down the flat back of the diviner, at the same time repeating a list of prescriptions. When he mentions the proper remedy, the disc sticks.

In criminal cases the block is manipulated in the same way as in those of illness, and a list of possible culprits is recited. When the disc sticks, the name uttered at that moment is that of the guilty person.

Wooden. Pig. Used by a diviner to communicate with the ancestor spirits, diagnose misfortunes and prescribe remedies.

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