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Power Figure (Nkishi)

Arts of Africa

On View: African Storage Annex, East Gallery, 1st Floor
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
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 on view in African Storage Annex, East Gallery, 1st Floor
CREDIT LINE Museum Expedition 1922, Robert B. Woodward Memorial Fund
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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
IMAGE overall, 22.1460_bw.jpg. Brooklyn Museum photograph
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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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