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STATUETTE Nkisi Nkondi
Culture Kongo / Yombe, Democratic Republic of Congo
First half of the 20th century
Wood, glass, mirror, fabric, rope and iron
H .: 52; Wt: 13; Thickness: 17 cm
Wooden statuette depicting an anthropomorphic figure standing, knees high and feet resting on a square base. Her bust is marked with inclusions of iron blades and nails arranged above a raised load. The whole is entwined with rope.
The oval face features two eyes with black, glass encrusted pupils, an open mouth - reminiscent of oath, C-shaped ears, a protrusion on the top of the head embellished with a piece of cloth.
The peculiarity of Minkisi fetishes, plural of Nkisi, is their ventral load. Indeed, the statuette is not "active" as long as it does not have its bilongo, its magical charge.
The attribution of these powers is the subject of a special ceremony where the diviner, called Nganga, charges the object with various organic components. The bilongo is closed with a square mirror insert.
Thus the statuette becomes a spiritual entity that is questioned for all types of societal or personal problems. Nganga is the only intermediary between men and Nkisi Nkondi. Anyone encountering a problem, whether it be illness or conflict, turns to the diviner. Before driving the nail into the wood, referring to the request made to the Nkisi Nkondi, the Ngangada had to wake him up by licking the nail beforehand. The Nkisi Nkondi then becomes the wizard hunter.
Provenance: Former Thys collection.
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