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Power figure (nkishi)

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Songye power figures known as minkishi range from small, privately owned images to such large community guardians such as this expressive work. They are periodically brought forth and consecrated by the nganga (ritual specialist), who charges the potency of the medicinal-sacrosanct substances...

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Before 1918, acquired in the Belgian Congo by M. Reisdorf, envoy to King Albert I, and passed by descent within his family, Belgium. April 4, 1989, sold by Marc Leo Felix (dealer), Brussels, to William and Bertha Teel, Marblehead, MA; 1994, year-end gift of Mr. and Mrs. Teel to the MFA. (Accession Date: January 22, 1995)

Credit Line

Gift of William E. and Bertha L. Teel

African, Songye peoples, Democratic Republic of the Congo, 20th century


60.96 cm (24 in.)

Accession Number


Medium or Technique

Wood, metal, fiber, leather, beads, skin


Africa and Oceania