Kongo Nkondi Nkisi Fetish Figure, African Tribal Creations, Congo, Art, Nail Drc
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Kongo Nkondi Nkisi Fetish Figure, African Tribal Creations, Congo, Art, Nail Drc:
AnAfrican Tribal Creations galleryKongo Nkondi Nkisi, or Nail Fetish Figure
The Kongo people are distributed throughout the Zaire River Basin, from the modern day Republic of the Congo down through northern Angola. Unique to the Kongo's region are these 'nkisi,' carvings considered extremely powerful by the people, and even by British colonialists who ordered them destroyed when found, fearing that they could be an effective resistance to the colonization of Africa. These "fetishes" are adorned with nails, or blades of metal, and are the only figures in African art embellished in this way.
The most feared of these figures, were these, the Nkondi. Standing in a symbolic pose, and generally carrying an actual small spear (or two) which is generally gone by the time the figure leaves the continent, they bear a ferocious expression, intended to advertise their ferocious purpose. The Nkondi were used to locate and punish (in many cases this means destroy) wrong-doers, deal breakers, or those who inflict evil upon others through magic. They were also used as physical bonds to agreements made between people. Often if the agreement were to be broken, the slated punishment was death, which was intended to be carried out through magic by the Nkondi. Nkondi often feature a bowl shaped relief in the abdomen that would be filled with various 'magic' substances (specific plants, eggs, and other natural materials) by a skilled holy man in order to activate the statue. After activating it, the Nkondi had to be 'called to action'. This was accomplished in a number of ways; by taunting it, singing to it, drives nails or blades into it, and by other means. In many cases, a mirror, or other covering was used to seal up the relief. These pieces gained real power when used because the people believed in their effectiveness.
This rather large and very heavy fetish figure has come directly to us from West Africa. It is depicted with arms by its side, facing forward with common Kongo features, including eyes that appear to have been pigmented at one time, though most of that pigment has faded. There is a very large number of nails driven into the piece, indicating a great amount of power, as well as numerous other embellishments, including animal horns, a very old strand of fine African trade beads (a valuable commodity on their own), blue pigmentation, cloth, horns, fiber, plant matter, etc. The figure demonstrates clear evidence of wear, handling, age, Environmental exposure, and possibly use, with what appears to be various substances rubbed into the reservoir. This is an outstanding example of the nkisi style, and does not appear to have undergone any breaks or repairs. This is a beast of a piece, and a beautifully grotesque and fearsome figure; it will immediately augment any fine collection!
Our staff member from Ghana swears by the real life effectiveness of these figures.
Dimensions are 26.5" x 11.5" x 13", and it weighs in at thirteen and a half pounds!
Medium: Wood, Metal, Pigment, Cloth, Beads, Animal Horn, Fiber, Plant Matter
Here's your chance to help us give back! Ten percent (10%) of all proceeds from this sale will be donated to the International Rescue Committee (IRC), an organization dedicated to providing relief and rehabilitation to those stricken by the world's worst conflicts and humanitarian crises. We have chosen the IRC as our charity of choice because of their extensive work with the rescue and rehabilitation of child soldiers in the regions of Uganda, Democratic Republic of Congo, Burundi, Cote d'Ivoire, and Liberia. We thank all of our great customers for their help in supporting this charity, and in helping to give these children a second chance at a better life.
NOTHINGwe sell at African Tribal Creations is made in China, Taiwan, Thailand, or wherever. All items are 100% guaranteedAFRICAN ART, made in Africa BY the indigenous peoples of Africa. We have 100% positive response for a reason.
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This is a beautiful piece of art! It would be a great compliment to any decor, or private collection!
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Ships insured, and with delivery confirmation so you can track your purchase to your door! Be advised that in the event of a broken piece, USPS will require you to surrender the item to obtain a full refund. Shipping price is for the domestic US. If you are offerding from Hawaii or Alaska, please contact us and/or we will recalculate your shipping costs for your purchase.
We will ship internationally, but please contact for a shipping quote. We cannot be held responsible for customs hold ups! We will do our best, but at the end of the day, we can't offer an absolute international guarantee. Thanks for understanding!