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Bakongo Nkisi Nkondi Figure 24.5″ – DRC – African Art

$212.50

1 in stock

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This statue was carved in the style of an nkisi nkondi from the Bakongo people of DRC. Nkisi means it is imbued with sacred elements and is filled by a spirit. Nkondi means hunter, typically portrayed by a figure with his arm raised and a hollowed hand to hold a weapon. He is decorated with metal nails, organic substances, bone and glass eyes. He measures 24.5 inches tall and weighs 12.5 pounds. There is some cracking, scuffing and wear and tear throughout – please inspect photos carefully.

Type of Object

Figure, statue

Country of Origin

DR Congo

Ethnicity

Bakongo (Kongo)

Material

Wood, pigment, vegetable fiber, nails, fabric, organic substances, hair, bone and glass eyes

Approximate Age

Unknown

Height

24.5"

Width

9.5"

Depth

13"

Weight

12.5 lbs

Overall Condition

Some cracking, scuffing and general wear and tear throughout.

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Tribe Information

About the Bakongo People

Bakongo people are a matriarchal society who values their independence. They are the largest tribe in the Democratic Republic of Congo and have considerable populations in neighboring countries as well. The total population of the tribe was last estimated to be around 18 million world wide.

With such a vast population of people, their belief system is almost as so. For the most part, the majority of Bakongo people believe in a creator god and deities. When the Portuguese inserted themselves in the area in the 15the century, they used that belief system to convince the Bakongo that Christianity was the same thing. Missionaries would twist Bakongo language to push Christianity among the people, they would take words such as “nkisi” to mean “holy” as they were teaching their religion. Today, a mixture of traditional religion and Christianity is practiced. Both churches and shrines have been maintained.
Read more about the Bakongo here.

Additional Information

About the Nkisi Nkondi Figure

The Bakongo people have created figures referred to as nkisi nkondi. These figures come in many shapes, sizes and forms. Nkondi is derived from the word konda which means to hunt, and are the most powerful form of nkisi. Nkisi are spirits; an object can become nkisi if it is resided by a spirit and filled with medicines. Therefore, nkisi nkondi is a spirit, inside of a hunter figure, and is imbued with sacred elements. Nails are often pounded into the figure in order to activate and provoke the lifeforce. These figures are used by the owner or a specialist, known as the Nganga, to communicate with ancestors to eradicate evil and punish wrong-doers. They are also used in divination practices to help heal the sick and to track down witches and sorcerers.