Wooden figure used as container for nkisi force

Made:
1890-1910 in Kinshasa
maker:
Bakongo people
Carved wooden statue, male, large rectangular projection, with glass screen containing " medicine" resenous laf also Carved wooden statue, male, large rectangular projection, with glass screen containing " medicine" resenous laf also

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Carved wooden statue, male, large rectangular projection, with glass screen containing " medicine" resenous laf also
Science Museum Group Collection
© The Board of Trustees of the Science Museum

Carved wooden statue, male, large rectangular projection, with glass screen containing " medicine" resenous laf also
Science Museum Group Collection
© The Board of Trustees of the Science Museum

Science Museum Group
© The Board of Trustees of the Science Museum, London

Science Museum Group
© The Board of Trustees of the Science Museum, London

Science Museum Group
© The Board of Trustees of the Science Museum, London

Container for nkisi force, carved wooden statue with upraised arm, BaKongo people, west-central Africa, 1890-1910

A carved wooden figure with an upraised arm, used as a container for the nkisi force. In BaKongo belief, an ancestor or spirit is named as the nkisi force and harnessed in a container for use in healing. The threatening look of this figure shows the power of the nkisi – to seek out the cause of illness, fight it and protect from future harm. The figures become active when bilongo (medicines) are added and the ancestor or spirit enters the container.

Details

Category:
Ethnography and Folk Medicine
Object Number:
A655906
Materials:
glass, mirror, resin, conoretion and wood
type:
statue
taxonomy:
  • visual and verbal communication
  • sculpture
credit:
Loan, Wellcome Trust