African art > The fetish, this emblematic object of primitive art > Kongo Fetish

Kongo Nkisi fetish statuette (N° 19928)

Among the Kongo, the nganga performed rituals by activating a spiritual force with a nkondi (pl. nkissi). The term nkisi was later used to refer to notions of "sacred" or "divine". The most influential category of "minkisi kongo" consisted of instruments to assist regional chiefs in enforcing 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 that was to settle the conflict was well enforced, and that individuals feared the consequences of their behavior. His appearance thus personified the force residing there. From the second half of the twentieth century, minkisi minkondi were strategically placed along the coast of the Loango kingdom to protect against European incursions. Among the most powerful, the Mangaaka was considered the "king" and "master", supreme arbiter of conflicts and protector of communities, and became the most ambitious and monumental sculptural genre.
Perched on a pedestal, the figure is equipped with a magical charge on his back. The elements that are supposed to give him additional powers are hidden in an abdominal cavity. Satin patina.  

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Originex-collection belge
EthnyKongo
Countryrdc ex zaire
Material(s)wood, metal, verre
Height20
Width9
Weight0.20 Kg
Estimated dating2ème halfxx°

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