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Power Figure (Nkishi)

For the Songye, power figures secure assistance from the supernatural world for a variety of benefits, including protection against sorcery, ensuring a successful harvest, or preventing miscarriages. Some materials attached to the wooden figure are believed to give it these supernatural powers, while others amplify how the figure was used.

Songye peoples, Democratic Republic of the Congo
Power Figure (Nkishi)
19th or 20th century
Wood, iron, horn, fiber, cowrie shells, snakeskin, hair, incrustation
H. 12 ½ in. (32.0 cm)
Sidney and Lois Eskenazi Museum of Art, Raymond and Laura Wielgus Collection, 74.55.3