Lot: 369

87th Tribal Art Auction

Power figure "nkisi"

D. R. Congo, Bakongo/Congo Brazzaville/Cabinda Angola

Provenance Size Starting price / estimated price
Old Colonial Collection
Alain Guisson, Brussels, Belgium
H: 16.5 inch This object is not available anymore.

wood, brown patina, red pigment, mirror glass, iron chain, cord, cloth, bone, large receptacle closed by mirror glass in front of the body, calabash and seven animal horns on the backside, coiffure modelled with mass and adorned with decorative tags, strips of fabric wrapped around belly and ankles, entirely coated by red pigment, strongly encrusted in some areas, slightly dam., cracks, base. As soon as the magical material "bilongo" was inserted by the witchdoctor, the object was considered to be "magically loaded" and its power "nkisi" could be activated by certain incantations. They were used for warding off witchcraft, diseases and thieves. Bad spirits or humans being ill-disposed towards others should be banished by the reflexion of the mirror glass in order to be destroyed by the magic material affixed to the figure. They were veiled, when not in use.

Lecomte, Alain et. al., Bakongo, Le Fétiches, Paris 2016, p. 184