Hexendoktor (Witch doctor)

In the traditional village communities of Africa, the medicine men have held one of the most important positions. The religiosity, but also the superstition associated with it, accompanied villagers in their daily activities and, above all, when they were ill, put them in fear of evil spirits and demons, who caused the conditions through their alleged witchcraft. In the original meaning, the witch doctors were the protectors who knew how to resist evil and protect against witchcraft with their specially prepared means. These witch doctors go by different names depending on the country; they are called Witch doctor, Shona (in Zimbabwe), Nganga (in Congo), Inyanga and Saangoma (in South Africa), Mganga (in Swahili) and the like.

Witch Doctor or Witch Doctor: shown here in the meditation position. The hands placed on the chest are intended to present breath and inner peace. The face conveys a focused concentration through a rigid expression. The goggle-eyed look was intentionally exposed in the scene and sometimes seems a bit grotesque, but at the same time it is supposed to be frightening and deterrent for the demons with evil intentions. The expressive face with its corners and edges is the opposite of the very simple body. On the body surface, which is smooth and matt polished, conspicuous double rizene have been applied to some parts of the arms and upper body, which is a reference to the scars that the villagers of the Makonde tribes liked to adorn themselves with. The Makonde scars, which today are mostly only visible in the older generation, have given rise to entire compositions on the torso as a symbolic value in their long-lined style.

The simplicity of the lower part of the figure is irritating on closer inspection. What seems a bit strange to us Europeans is of great importance to the Makonde and so the genitals are very present and staged oversized. As a symbol of sexuality and fertility, they are a gift and a prerequisite for the existence of mankind.

Material:  Ebony, from the core of the tree, therefore natural

               black color, 1 spot on the right knee with white inclusion

Size:     Height 37 cm, width 10 cm, depth 9 cm

Year:        without specification

Artist:  A. Musa