Fetish - Glass, Hair (animal), Nail, Wood - Bakongo - Congo DRC

Fetish - Glass, Hair (animal), Nail, Wood - Bakongo - Congo DRC
Mid 20th century - Good

Nkisi nkondi fetish / figure / sculpture.

Country of origin: Congo.
Tribe: Bakongo
Material: wood, glass, nails, metal blades, glass, hair, plant fibre
Height: 53 cm
Width: 22 cm
Depth: 24 cm
Weight: 2.8 kg

The shaman began by coming into contact with the nkonde to ‘wake it up’. For this, areas of the surface were left free of nails and blades to eventually drive nails and blades into them.

The nkonde gazes. His metal eyes appear to fixate on the man swearing an oath, as if to follow him through space and time. By contrast, this man, banished, was unable to divert his gaze from the mirror fragment on the belly of the nkonde, which hides the supposedly magical substances and is suggestive of its power.

A nkondi figure (also called nkonde, pl. minkondi) is considered the most powerful subtype of nkisi figures.

The process of the provocation and invocation of nkondi is known as koma nloko (which means ‘nail a curse’) or nkomono (‘nail invocation’) and the expression nkisi nkondi means ‘a nailed figure containing a powerful force’.

Nkisi stands for spirit, nkondi for hunter.

From the private collection of Thomas Kriegel from Stuttgart. Former art dealer and art collector.

Lot details
Ethnic group/ culture
Region/ country
Congo DRC
Glass, Hair (animal), Nail, Wood
Mid 20th century
Sold with stand
53×22×24 cm
2.8 kg
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