User Menu

MFA for Educators

Engage your students with the collections of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, to illustrate themes and concepts in any discipline.

Power figure (nkisi nkondi)

Start collecting

This sculpture, called nkisi nkonde, functioned as a hunter-healer of conflicts. The figure was commissioned, owned, and activated by the nganga specialist, who was trained and tested as a counselor or mediator skilled in treating afflictions of the body and spirit. Nails or blades were hammered...

Show Full Description


About 1958, acquired from his grandfather by Dr. A. Reymond, Morges, Switzerland; 1960, sold by Dr. Reymond to Hans Hess (dealer), Basel. Private collection, Switzerland. 1978, acquired by Pace Primitive and Ancient Art, New York and sold to a private collector, New York. 1987, sold by Pace Primitive and Ancient Art to William and Bertha Teel, Marblehead, MA; 1991, year-end gift of Mr. and Mrs. Teel to the MFA. (Accession Date: January 22, 1992) NOTE: Provenance information taken from a memorandum provided by Pace Primitive and Ancient Art (n.d.).

Credit Line

Gift of William E. and Bertha L. Teel

African, Kongo peoples, Democratic Republic of the Congo, 19th–20th century


61 x 30.5 x 20.3 cm (24 x 12 x 8 in.)

Accession Number


Medium or Technique

Wood, glass, iron nails, pigment, sacred material


Africa and Oceania