Skip Navigation

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.
CULTURE Songye
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
ACCESSION NUMBER 56.6.43
CREDIT LINE Gift of Arturo and Paul Peralta-Ramos
RIGHTS STATEMENT Creative Commons-BY
You may download and use Brooklyn Museum images of this three-dimensional work in accordance with a Creative Commons license. Fair use, as understood under the United States Copyright Act, may also apply.

Please include caption information from this page and credit the Brooklyn Museum. If you need a high resolution file, please contact reproductions@brooklynmuseum.org (charges apply).

For further information about copyright, we recommend resources at the United States Library of Congress, Cornell University, Copyright and Cultural Institutions: Guidelines for U.S. Libraries, Archives, and Museums, and Copyright Watch.

For more information about the Museum's rights project, including how rights types are assigned, please see our blog posts on copyright.

If you have any information regarding this work and rights to it, please contact copyright@brooklynmuseum.org.
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.
RECORD COMPLETENESS Best (89%)
Not every record you will find here is complete. More information is available for some works than for others, and some entries have been updated more recently. Records are frequently reviewed and revised, and we welcome any additional information you might have.
Power Figure (Nkishi)

TAGS