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Solongo Kongo fetish statue (N° 17345)

Power fetishes in African art.
This naturalist figure with an aggressive gesture has an oval face characteristic of the Solongo of Angola, the latter supplying the Kongo clans. The glassy gaze of the pupils at the pinhead is wide open, which is the prerogative of an elder. Indeed, only middle-aged people can stare at us with such insistence in order to alert us to problems or odds. (The Kongo Gesture)
Placed on the abdomen, in a quadrangular cavity blocked by a glass, ingredients constitute a magical charge, whose iron nails that lard the piece strengthen the power. Clay libatory residues clumped on the surface, locally draped with textile strips.
Patine mate, kaolin libation residues.

In the Kongo kingdom, nganga took care of the rituals by activating a spiritual force with a nkondi (pl. nkissi). The term nkisi was then used to refer to the terms of 'sacred' or 'divine'. The most influential category of 'minkisi kongo' consisted of instruments to help regional leaders enforce the law. A metal object was nailed to a wooden figure as soon as a decision was made, each nail evoking a particular case: litigants, divorce, conflicts between communities...
The nkondi wanted to ensure that the agreement to settle the conflict was properly implemented, and that individuals feared the consequences of their behaviour. Its appearance thus personified the force residing there. From the second half of the 20th century, minkondi minkisi were strategically placed along the coasts of the Loango kingdom to protect against European incursions. Among the most powerful, the Mangaaka was considered the 'king' and 'master', supreme arbiter of conflicts and protector of communities, and who became the most ambitious and monumental sculptural genre.

Source: The Kongo gesture Dapper Museum.  

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Originex-collection suisse
EthnySolongo
Countryrdc ex zaire
Material(s)wood, metal, verre
Height58
Width15
Weight5.30 Kg
Estimated datingmid-xx°

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