African animal figure Nkisi (pl. mankishi ) of "koso" type in which a bishimba magic charge is usually introduced. The power of the fetish, according to local beliefs, was further accentuated by the presence of various accessories, such as nails, cords, metal. Among the Kongo, the dog, renowned for its knowledge of the supernatural world, its flair and its vision, had the role of mediator between the living and the dead.
The Vili, the Lâri, the Sûndi, the Woyo, the Bembe, the Bwende, the Yombé and the Kôngo formed the Kôngo group, led by King Ntotela. Their kingdom reached its peak in the 16th century with the trade in ivory, copper and the slave trade. With the same beliefs and traditions, they produced a statuary endowed with a codified gesture in relation to their vision of the world. These protective fetishes for homes are among the most popular in Africa. The Nkisi plays the role of mediator between gods and men. The large specimens are the collective property of an entire village, the smaller figures belong to an individual or a family.
Lit. : "Africa, the Art of a Continent" Prestel (p.244)
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