Lot: 327

98th Auction

Power figure "nkisi"

D. R. Congo, Yombe

Provenance Size Starting price / estimated price
Hilde & Lavuun Quackelbeen, Sint-Martens-Latem, Belgium H: 12.8 inch 10000 EUR
plus 23 % commission, VAT, transport and insurance

wood, glass, paint,

This figure impresses with its beautifully worked facial features and particularly elaborate details. Consider, for example, the ears, the beautifully curved mouth with filed teeth or the feet with finely accentuated ankles.

The arms are not elaborated and are fused with the upper body to form one unit, which suggests that magical charge was once bound to the body here.

A "nkisi" (also "nkishi", pl. "minkisi"/ "mankishi") is an object charged with magical substances "bilongo" and inhabited by a powerful spirit.

The figures receive their magical charge from a "banganga" (priest of the "minkisi"). They are used to protect the community from diseases, witchcraft and infertility. They can even bring about success in hunting or be used in a negative sense. Clients may turn to an "nganga" for an "nkisi" that aids in the misfortune, sickness and death of his neighbours, foes and relatives.