African art > Fetish > Kongo Fetish
Fetish statuette Nkisi Kongo (N° 16415)
The tribal fetishes of the Kongo kingdom have a magical charge usually housed on the abdomen behind a mirror closing the cavity. This copy with a chef's headdress is bristling with intertwined nails of various ropes and mixed with a clay aggregate. Eyes with dark pupils are encrusted with glass in reference to extra lucid abilities. A dagger is missing in the raised hand. The nganga, sorcerers but also healers, were in charge of religious activities and mediation towards the God called Nzambi through this type of figures, most often consecrated anthropomorphic tribal sculptures, named nkisi .
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With the Kongo, the nganga took on the rituals by activating a spiritual force with a nkondi (pl. nkissi). The term nkisi was then used to refer to the concepts of "sacred" or "divin". The most influential category of "minkisi kongo" consisted of instruments to help regional leaders enforce the law. A metal object was nailed to a wooden figure as soon as a decision was made, each nail evoking a particular case: litigants, divorce, conflicts between communities... The nkondi wanted to ensure that the agreement to settle the conflict was properly implemented, and that individuals feared the consequences of their behaviour. His appearance thus personified the resident strength. From the second half of the 20th century, minkisi minkondi were strategically placed along the coasts of the Loango kingdom to protect against European incursions. Among the most powerful, the Mangaaka was considered the "roi" and "master", supreme arbiter of conflict and protector of communities, and which became the most ambitious and monumental sculptural genre.
Source: ", the gesture Kongo" Ed. Dapper Museum
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|Origin||ex-collection privée Paris|
|Country||rdc ex zaire|
|Material(s)||wood, metal, plant fibre, textile|
|Estimated dating||1ère halfxx°|
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