30 Apr 2015
April 30, 2015

Songye (Kongo) Power Figure, Nkisi

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Here is a Songye Nkisi (sometimes Nkishi), power-figure and fetish from the central Kongo region (modern Democratic Republic of Congo). Made by a diviner (nganga) for the protection of a family, and used to pay homage and tribute to ancestors. Usually imbued with specific powers, we can only guess what this one’s was. It is a male, and based on its headwear, I assume it is a warrior or used for defense.

Figure wears a copper helmet with a nice verdigris patina, affixed with small nails. The top of the head is adorned with a real animal horn, drilled for the application of traditional medicines. Body is well-worn, high spots and corners smoothed by touch. It is obvious many hands have held it/carried it, and it is heavy, weighing nearly 12 lbs. Figure is carved from a single piece of wood, and some areas (especially the feet) have suffered damage, and it does not stand on its own. Could use a new one to stand alone.
Measures a tall 25 inches, including the horn, and 6 inches at the widest.
Based on its wear, it is plain to see this figure is old. But how old, we can only guess. We are no experts, you be the judge. A fantastic and mysterious figure, this is your opportunity to own a real piece of true African Art from the colonial period.
Check out these pictures, and comment below to let us know what you think!
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