The production of power figures was the responsibility of sculptor-diviners (nganga) and a sculpture of this size would have belonged to an individual. The Songye regarded the wood figure as merely a shell, activated to full power only by the addition of bishimba, the sacred 'medicine' composed of animal, plant, and mineral substances chosen for their magical properties. Bishima was often incorporated as external accessories, like the metal insert and antelope horn protruding from the top of the figure's head, and contained in receptacles, such as in this figure's enlarged belly. The forces harnessed by bishimba and invoked by the nganga could be directed maliciously against one's enemies, or towards a desirable positive outcome.
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