Male Figure

Male Figure

late 1800s-early 1900s

Wood, fabric, shells, beads, feathers, resin, glass, twine or cord

Overall: 42 x 11.8 x 23 cm (16 9/16 x 4 5/8 x 9 1/16 in.)

René and Odette Delenne Collection, Leonard C. Hanna, Jr. Fund 2010.433

Fun Fact

Different from other figures functioning as defense against witches or misfortune, its “night guns,” or nduda, are missing.

Description

Nkisi is an object that is believed to host an ancestral spirit. Unusual from other figures, this Nkisi figure is missing its nduda, “night guns.” These guns would be filled with gunpowder functioning as defense against witches or misfortune. Unless its guns were lost during the course of its life history, this nkisi may instead be an example of a more general type called mpanzu, whose functions included protection.

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