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Image of Nkisi (Power Figure)

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Bookmark: http://triarte.brynmawr.edu/objects-1/info/145820



unknown Songye
Primary



Nkisi (Power Figure)

19th century - 20th century
Carved and incised gourd with leopard fur

5 in. (12.7 cm)

Bryn Mawr College
Accession Number: 99.3.32
Other Number(s): 144 (Neufeld Collection Number)
Geography: Africa, Democratic Republic of the Congo
Classification: Ceremonial and Performance Artifacts; Ritual Objects
Culture/Nationality: Songye, Congolese, Central African, African
Collection: Neufeld Collection

Keywords Click a term to view the records with the same keyword
This object has the following keywords:
  • African - Refers to the cultures of the continent of Africa, which is bounded by the Atlantic Ocean, the Indian Ocean, and the Mediterranean Sea.
  • carving - The act of shaping, marking, or decorating wood, stone, or another material by cutting or incising, typically using tools such as chisels and other blades. It refers to this process as it is applied to small-scale objects or to objects that are not considered art. "Carving" may also be considered a sculpture technique that is employed in the creation of art.
  • Central African - Styles and cultures from a wide region of Africa that straddles the Equator and is drained largely by the Congo River system.
  • fetishes - Objects believed to be enchanted, or have magical power to aid or protect its owner.
  • fur - Fine, soft, thick, hairy coat of a mammal, usually consisting of a double coat of hair that includes a layer of comparatively short, soft, curly barbed hair next to the skin, protected by longer, smoother, stiffer hair growing up through it.
  • gourds - The hard-shelled fruits of any of various plants of the Cucurbitaceae family.
  • minkisi - Sculpture used to contain potent medicines that are associated with spiritual or healing power, often taking the form of carved wooden figures or assemblages of objects, such as bundles, shells, pots, and amulets. Originating in the Congo region of Africa, their use in divination, protection, and healing rites has been carried to Cuba, Haiti, Brazil, and the American South.
  • ritual objects - Objects used for a particular ritual activity, often as part of a ceremony.
  • sacred objects - Broadly, ceremonial objects that retain their sacredness in their present context. Sometimes defined more narrowly as only those needed by a present-day culture to practice their religion. For objects that are used primarily for a religious ceremony or function, but are not necessarily in themselves considered sacred, use "religious objects."
  • Songye
  • wood - The principal tissue of trees and other plants that provides both strength and a means of conducting nutrients. Wood is one of the most versatile materials known.

Additional Images Click an image to view a larger version
Additional Image 99.3.32_BMC_f_2.jpg
99.3.32_BMC_f_2.jpg
Additional Image 99.3.32_BMC_f.jpg
99.3.32_BMC_f.jpg
Additional Image 99.3.32_BMC_pl.jpg
99.3.32_BMC_pl.jpg
Additional Image 99.3.32_BMC_pr.jpg
99.3.32_BMC_pr.jpg
Additional Image 99.3.32_BMC_r.jpg
99.3.32_BMC_r.jpg

Exhibition List
This object was included in the following exhibitions:
  • A Curious Group; a cabinet of curiosities Bryn Mawr College , Apr 4, 2014 – Jun 30, 2014
  • Honoring the Past, Inspiring the Future: Black History Month at Bryn Mawr College Bryn Mawr College , Feb 15, 2013 – Mar 29, 2013
  • African Images, Western Imageries: Collecting and Recollecting African Bryn Mawr College , Sep 26, 1999 – Jun 15, 2000

  • Owner Name: Mace Neufeld and Helen Katz Neufeld, Class of 1953
    Role: Donor
    Place: Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania, US
    Ownership End Date: 12/20/1996


Bibliography List
The following Bibliography exist for this object:
  • Carrie Robbins and Nathanael Roesch. A Curious Group. Bryn Mawr College. Bryn Mawr, PA, April 4–June 1, 2014
    Figure Number: Fauna 5
  • "African Heritage Document and Research Center." (Accessed June 11, 2020): AHDRC.eu. Record No.: 0179548.

Comparanda List
The following Comparanda exist for this object:
  • "Indianapolis Museum of Art Online Collection." (Accessed May 21, 2020): http://collection.imamuseum.org. Accession No.: 1989.1196.
  • "Africa Gallery Antique Website." (Accessed May 21, 2020): Africagalleryantique.com. https://www.africagalleryantique.com/product/songye-calabash-lmcl-001/.

Related Bibliography List
The following Related Bibliography exist for this object:
  • Tom Phillips, ed. Africa: The Art of a Continent (Munich; London; New York: Prestel Verlag and Royal Academy of Arts, 1999), 283-284.
  • "Africa Gallery Antique Website." (Accessed May 21, 2020): Africagalleryantique.com. https://www.africagalleryantique.com/product/songye-calabash-lmcl-001/.
  • Constantine Petridis, Art and Power in the Central African Savanna: Luba, Songye, Chokwe, Luluwa (Cleveland, Ohio: The Cleveland Museum of Art, 2008), 67-88.

Portfolio List Click a portfolio name to view all the objects in that portfolio
This object is a member of the following portfolios:

If you would like to cite this object in a Wikipedia article please use the following template:

<ref name=BMC>cite web |url=http://triarte.brynmawr.edu/objects-1/info/145820 |title=Nkisi (Power Figure) |author=Bryn Mawr College Library Special Collections |accessdate=6/30/2022 |publisher=Bryn Mawr College</ref>

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