Friday, 19. May 2006
Art and Oracle
Oracle Figure (Kafigeledjo)
A hybrid creation that lies outside the realm of anything recognizable in nature, this oracle figure deliberately provokes anxiety through its shrouded anonymity and the sense of suffocation and entrapment it suggests. Such works and the ritual practice in which they are used are both known as kafigeledjo, a term that is variously translated as "he who speaks the truth," "tell the truth," or "saying true things." The figures give visual representation to invisible bush spirits and function as divination devices. In contrast to the sublime humanism of works of Senufo Sando divination, they clearly embody a wild and unsettling anti-aesthetic.
Kafigeledjo divination is used to uncover misdeeds, false testimony, and culpability. Like the tyeli divination technique practiced by Sandobele, this pursuit of truth ultimately seeks to preserve and uphold Senufo social guidelines concerning descent. It does so by unveiling illicit behavior and by punishing with supernatural sanctions those who violate rules pertaining to forbidden sexual relations and exogamous marriage.
Art and Oracle
|Its complex character as an image derives from its ability to simultaneously unsettle and reassure through its suggestion of unparalleled spiritual might. Its efficacy as a divinatory tool served to safeguard Pende communities from sorcery being practiced against them and other dangers.|
According to Pende cosmology, Maweze (God) created a world divided into two parallel realms of existence—the realm of the living and, beneath it, "the other world" (kalunga)—with life conceived of as a cyclical journey between the two. Responsibility for overseeing the prosperity of the living was delegated to the dead, who monitor human reproduction, agriculture, and the hunt. In order to facilitate communication between the two realms, the ancestors designate "transistors," known as mahamba (singular, hamba), who provide the living with access to the omniscience of the collective dead.
When a family suffers an unusually high rate of illness, death, or other such serious problems, the dead will sometimes intercede in order to assist them in their time of need by divinely ordaining a member to serve as their mouthpiece. More typically, though, problems are addressed through professional diviners (nganga ngombo), usually male, who have pursued the study of wanga, the manipulation of physical and metaphysical forces for personal advantage.
Njinda Divination Figure (Ngombo)
: African Art and Rituals of Divination
by The Metropolitan Museum of Art. (English)
Comments Temporarily Disabled
Sorry folks - too much spam, the comments are deactivated.
Stand by and please excuse the inconvenience.