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Power figure (nkisi nkondi)

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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...

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Provenance

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

Dimensions

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

Accession Number

1991.1064

Medium or Technique

Wood, glass, iron nails, pigment, sacred material

Collections

Africa and Oceania

Classifications

Sculpture