Lot: 242

Voyage Tribal Art - Live Online Auction

Power half figure "nkisi"

D. R. Congo, Songe

Provenance Size Starting price / estimated price
Pierre Dartevelle, Brussels, Belgium
Rob Vervoort, Molenstede-Diest, Belgium
H: 18.7 inch sold

wood, hide, animal hair, feathers, plant fibre, reptile skin, base Acting as intercessors between ancestral spirits and the living, such larger "minkisi" were intended to benefit the entire community. The creation of a "nkisi" was a public event that brought together the community, a skilled carver and experienced "nganga". Chiefs and elders commissioned the "nkisi" and the community was responsible for cutting the tree selected for the carving. The carver decided on the "nkisi’s" features and type of wood to be used, often selected for its curative or toxic properties or for being associated with certain ancestral contexts. The "nganga" assembled the "bishimba", powerful matter made of animal, plant, and mineral substances. The addition of this sacred matter allowed the "nkisi" to become a conduit for spiritual forces.