Power Figure (Nkishi)
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
- Place Made: Tanganyika Province, Democratic Republic of the Congo
- 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 South Gallery, 1st Floor
- Accession Number: 56.6.43
- Credit Line: Gift of Arturo and Paul Peralta-Ramos
- Rights Statement: Creative Commons-BY
- 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
- 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%)