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Power Figure (Nkishi)

Arts of Africa

To judge by the proliferation of tacks on this nkishi, its function was probably to protect the owner and his or her family from smallpox, a disease widespread and greatly feared in this period.
MEDIUM Wood, glass beads, fiber, cloth, copper alloy
  • Place Made: Africa
  • DATES 19th century
    DIMENSIONS 8 1/2 x 2 3/8 in. (21.5 x 6.0 cm)  (show scale)
    COLLECTIONS Arts of Africa
    MUSEUM LOCATION This item is not on view
    CREDIT LINE Museum Expedition 1922, Robert B. Woodward Memorial Fund
    RIGHTS STATEMENT Creative Commons-BY
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    CAPTION Songye. Power Figure (Nkishi), 19th century. Wood, glass beads, fiber, cloth, copper alloy, 8 1/2 x 2 3/8 in. (21.5 x 6.0 cm). Brooklyn Museum, Museum Expedition 1922, Robert B. Woodward Memorial Fund, 22.1460. Creative Commons-BY (Photo: Brooklyn Museum, 22.1460_front_PS6.jpg)
    IMAGE front, 22.1460_front_PS6.jpg. Brooklyn Museum photograph, 2011
    "CUR" at the beginning of an image file name means that the image was created by a curatorial staff member. These study images may be digital point-and-shoot photographs, when we don\'t yet have high-quality studio photography, or they may be scans of older negatives, slides, or photographic prints, providing historical documentation of the object.
    CATALOGUE DESCRIPTION Wooden figure; soft wood. Fetish. Standing and profusely covered with upholstery tacks, striped cloth, covering fetish material, elaborate necklace of brass beads. Condition: Poor
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