African art > African statues : tribal fetish, maternity > African statue Kongo Nkondi

African statue Kongo Nkondi (N° 11279)

Among the Kongo, nganga took care of rituals by activating a spiritual force with a nkondi (pl. nkissi). The term nkisi was then used to refer to the terms of 'sacred' or 'divine'. 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 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 'king' and 'master', supreme arbiter of conflicts and protector of communities, and who became the most ambitious and monumental sculptural genre.
The additional powers are hidden in an abdominal cavity. Perched on a quadrangular base, the armless figure gazes at us with his glazed eyes, whose black pupil is dilated. The multiple nails that surround his abdomen, dot his back, the base of his neck and the base, attest to the agreements made and exacerbate his mystical strength. A raffia necklace adorns his neck, it features the pointed headdress common among the Yombe, a loincloth of used fabric drapes his hips. Eroded wood, crusty patina, polychromy remains at the cheeks.  


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Originrécolté in situ en 1996
Material(s)wood, clous
Height cm60
Width17 cm
Weight2.97 Kg
Estimated datingmid-xx°

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