A nkisi nkondi serves as a container for potent ingredients used in magic and medicine, in judicial and healing contexts. To make a nkisi nkondi, a carver begins by sculpting a male human or animal figure with a cavity in the abdomen; then a ritual expert completes the work by placing ingredients with supernatural powers on the object and in the cavity provided. He activates the figure by breathing into the cavity and immediately seals it off with a mirror. Nails and blades are driven into the figure, either to affirm an oath or to destroy an evil force. The pose, with hands on hips, symbolizes the nkondi's readiness to defend a righteous person and to destroy an enemy.
Image of a man, stuck with nails and knives. Mirror in navel. Free carved feet standing on a block. Hands at hips. Stained white in most parts. Four flat pronged high headdress. Open mouth with teeth and tongue showing. Bracelets around biceps. Condition: Good