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Power Figure (Nkishi)

Arts of Africa

On View: African Storage Annex, East Gallery, 1st Floor
This figure’s protruding abdomen allowed room for the insertion of various medicines by an nganga (ritual specialist) to activate the spirit force reached through the figure. These ingredients were sealed in a cavity behind the tack at the navel. The figure’s oily surface is probably the result of rubbing with palm oil or fat obtained from crushed termite queens.
MEDIUM Wood, metal, organic materials
DATES late 19th or early 20th century
DIMENSIONS 8 1/2 x 2 1/4 in. (21.7 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 Gift of Arturo and Paul Peralta-Ramos
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CAPTION Songye. Power Figure (Nkishi), late 19th or early 20th century. Wood, metal, organic materials, 8 1/2 x 2 1/4 in. (21.7 x 6.0 cm). Brooklyn Museum, Gift of Arturo and Paul Peralta-Ramos, 56.6.43. Creative Commons-BY
IMAGE front, 56.6.43_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 Full wooden figure. Large head, protruding chin, hair dress, protruding stomach. Short legs, wide rounded feet on rounded base. Metal knob in head, nail in stomach. CONDITION: Fair, oily.
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Power Figure (Nkishi)