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HOME : African & Tribal Art : Kongo, Yombe : Kongo Wooden Nkisi Nkondi Sculpture
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Kongo Wooden Nkisi Nkondi Sculpture - X.1049
Origin: Southwestern Congo/Angola
Circa: 20 th Century AD
Dimensions: 36" (91.4cm) high
Collection: African
Medium: Wood and Metal


Location: United States
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Description
The Kongo people believe there are innumerable spirits which dwell in nature. Occasionally one inhabits a human being and that person falls ill. A sorcerer/healer is then consulted. He determines the nature of the malady, the particular spirit causing the illness and what type of nkisi should be made. It is hoped the spirit will be tempted to leave the patient and dwell within the nkisi. These remarkable statues are also used as protection and for oath-taking. When one is in use, nails or blades are driven into it to activate its spiritual energy.

The nkisis are also referred to as "power figures", and seeing this magnificent statue we can easily understand why. The sheer enormity of its presence is quite breathtaking. The countless nails and other items attest to its having been used as a reliable and respected figure. Its power is absolutely physical, captivating one immediately with its almost supernatural character. The protrusion from its lower abdomen is a receptacle containing leafs, shells, and sachets sealed with a mirror. This is where the spirit dwells. Though an object such as a nkisi is very alien to Western culture, we can feel its authority and intensity, which may literally be from beyond the physical world. - (X.1049)

 

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