African art > African statues : tribal fetish, maternity > Statues Yombé
Statues Yombé (N° 14409)
Ex French African art collection.
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These Kongo statues forming a couple have slightly different physiognomies thanks to the rictus of the female figure. The bilongo elements conferring additional powers to this tribal art object named nkisi were housed in the reliquary-forming cup on the woman's abdomen. The metal reputed to hold protective virtues is present in the form of nails dotting the sculpture. Satin patina, granular residue.
The witch doctors nganga , both healers, were in charge of religious activities and mediation towards the God called Nzambi through these consecrated figures. Aggressive witchcraft kindoki is the absolute evil that must be fought. To this end, protective nkisis figures are made and loaded by the nganga with all the ingredients necessary to achieve this goal. It is not the morphology of the sculpture that determines its use, but whatever is added to the receptacle constructed for that purpose.
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: disputing parties, divorce, conflicts between communities...The nkondi thus wanted to ensure that the agreement that was to settle the conflict was 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 coasts of the Loango kingdom to protect against European incursions.
Source: "Le geste Kôngo" Ed. Musée Dapper.
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