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NKISI STATUETTE


KONGO (Zaïre)
H : 34 cm.
Wood, earth, iron and composite materials
Musée Dapper - Paris


Spreading over both sides of the Congo-Zaïre border, the Bakongos constitute a powerful nation with a proud history. The statuettes, whose bestowed magical powers are often enclosed in two reliquaries, are known as "nkisis". This particular nkisi, intended by the nganga (medecine man) for private use, stands out by the quality of the face set between two reliquaries inserted with mirrors on the forehead and the torso. The full red-tainted faintly smiling lips, the wide-open eyes set in clear whites, the delicate modeling of chin and cheek-bones and fine pearling of the eye-brows bestow upon this figure a strong presence of humanity and good will.



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