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Power Figure (Nkishi)

Arts of Africa

The Tetela and the Songye are closely related groups who make figures for personal religious rituals. Carving styles and materials for these figures are as diverse as their individual functions. A figure may be used to cure illness, bring wealth, or ensure good hunting. This figure includes fur wrapped tightly around its body and a horn from an antelope projecting from its head.

CULTURE Tetela
MEDIUM Wood, fur, hide, fiber, horn
  • Place Made: Maniema Province
  • DATES early 20th century
    DIMENSIONS 17 in. (43.2 cm)  (show scale)
    COLLECTIONS Arts of Africa
    MUSEUM LOCATION This item is not on view
    ACCESSION NUMBER 72.102.4
    CREDIT LINE Gift of Fernandez Arman to the Jennie Simpson Educational Collection of African Art
    RIGHTS STATEMENT Creative Commons-BY
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    CAPTION Tetela. Power Figure (Nkishi), early 20th century. Wood, fur, hide, fiber, horn, 17 in. (43.2 cm). Brooklyn Museum, Gift of Fernandez Arman to the Jennie Simpson Educational Collection of African Art, 72.102.4. Creative Commons-BY (Photo: Brooklyn Museum, 72.102.4_bw.jpg)
    IMAGE overall, 72.102.4_bw.jpg. Brooklyn Museum photograph
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    CATALOGUE DESCRIPTION Human figure completely covered except for head. Body fully enveloped with fur, hide and bound in rope. Head has conical headdress.
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