African art > Statues > Nkondi Fetish
Statue of Nkondi Congo (N° 14381)
The nganga , sorcerers but also healers, were in charge of religious activities and mediation towards the God called Nzambi through figures, mostly consecrated anthropomorphic tribal sculptures, named nkisi . These primitive statues have a magical charge usually housed on the abdomen. Here, the cavity is blocked by a cauri indicating the umbilical. The figure has feet anchored on high headlands. Red ochre patina.
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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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|Material(s)||wood, cauris, fer|
|Estimated dating||1ère halfxx°|
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