African art > The fetish, this emblematic object of primitive art > Fétiche Nkisi

Fétiche Nkisi (N° 16976)

The tribal fetishes of the Kongo kingdom have a magical charge lodged on the abdomen behind a mirror blocking a cavity. The statuette, which has no forearms, is also equipped with a backpack and a ceding headdress, in which magic ingredients have probably been introduced. Eyes with dark pupils are encrusted with glass in reference to extra lucid abilities. Speckled matte patina with residual inlays. Desication abrasions and cracks. The nganga, sorcerers but also healers, were in charge of religious activities and mediation towards the God called Nzambi through these types of figures, most often consecrated anthropomorphic tribal sculptures, named nkisi.
Shez the Kongo, nganga took care of the rituals by activating a spiritual force with a nkondi (pl. nkissi). The term nkisi was then used to refer to the terms "sacréu-0022 or "divin". The most influential category of the "minkisi kongo" consisted of instruments designed 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 resolve the conflict was properly implemented, and that individuals feared the consequences of their behaviour. Its appearance thus personified the force residing there. From the second half of the 20th century, minkondi minkisi 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 "maître", supreme arbiter of conflicts and protector of communities, and which became the most ambitious and monumental sculptural genre.
Source: ", the Kongo" Ed gesture. Dapper Museum
 

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OriginCollection J. P. J. Monaco
EthnyKongo
Countryrdc ex zaire
Material(s)wood, verre, plant fibre, textile
Height cm27
Width8 cm
Weight0.65 Kg
Estimated datingmid-xx°

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