Nkisi Nkonde (nail fetish); a fetish figure in wood; the surface is covered with a variety of accoutrements: nails, reed, shells, bone, wood, string and clay; the 'magic' receptacle in the abdominal area bears a mirror

Power figure, early 20th century

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It looks like a man being punished or tortured. But to its Kongo makers and users, this figure was a container, empowered by a ritual specialist to house a specific spirit. The figure was consulted like a traditional chief to settle disputes and arrive at binding decisions. Each nail and blade, driven in to energize its powers, represents an issue resolved by its ritual authority.

Details
Title
Power figure
Role
Artist
Accession Number
71.3
Curator Approved

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Nkisi Nkonde (nail fetish); a fetish figure in wood; the surface is covered with a variety of accoutrements: nails, reed, shells, bone, wood, string and clay; the 'magic' receptacle in the abdominal area bears a mirror