Fetish Freaks Africa

The wooden figures depicting people and animals that are characteristic of art from equatorial Africa are commonly known as fetishes. This term, which originates in Portuguese “feitio”, originally meant amulets or charms but has come to signify all sorts of religious practices common among African Negroes or other peoples considered lower culturally developed peoples.

Sarah Baartman is perhaps the ultimate example of a fetish. When she arrived in Europe as a slave, she was immediately exposed to paying audiences and various forms of sexual exploitation; during her lifetime, Sarah Baartman became an emblem of hyper-sexuality for black women and reinforced the perception that those of African descent are inferior.

Figure 13’s depiction is strikingly reminiscent of that of a Bauba woman depicted by J. M. D’Arcy’s 1826 painting (catalogue no. 78). This particular fetish can be distinguished from others by having round holes for collecting energy in its abdomen and head as well as having snake- or lizard-like scales covering its skin girdle receptacles for power collection.

If you are exploring your fetishes, it is wise to do it in public with trusted individuals and discuss any concerns before engaging in any potentially risky behaviors online. Learning anything online is not nearly as safe and could put you in an unsafe situation that puts your safety at risk.

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