African art > The fetish, this emblematic object of primitive art > Kongo Nkisi Fetish Dog
Kongo Nkisi Fetish Dog (N° 8641)
Kongo fetishes are famous in African art.
It is a two-headed dog whose eyes are encrusted with pieces of glass. The body that separates the two heads is covered with nails in the middle of which we can see the cavity inhabited by the magical charge. The Kongo use these types of objects to try to solve a problem and intimidate or repel the person who caused it.
" These sculptures, anthropomorphic or zoomorphic, have long been classified as vengeful spirits, but their function is much more ambivalent. It is when the nganga completes the sculptor's achievement by pushing the nails into the nkonde that he acquires his magical charge. Its action is not a secret, its mission is on the contrary public. Once the evils and their culprit are determined, the nganga activates the strength of the nkonde by planting a nail or an iron blade, witnesses of the demand and especially of the agreement reached between the nganga and its client... often seen as malicious, these statuettes have the essential role of restoring social harmony, disturbed by the harmful intentions of a third party." The ABCdaire of African Arts. Flammarion