Kongo Nkisi Nkondi Kozo

c. 1850
$2,880 USD
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W: 7.5" D: 23.5" H: 10.5"
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Dogs in the Kongo were believed to communicate with both the spirit and human world. With this, it was said that they have four eyes, which is depicted in this two headed figure. With its ferocious appearance and violently pierced body, this dog was created to contain and direct a spirit in order to assist people in need, resolve conflicts, and punish wrongdoers. Nkondi means “hunter” in the Kongo language and refers to the spirit’s power to track down a source of trouble. The spirit, or “nkisi,” was drawn into the fetish sculpture through the application of medicinal ingredients packed in resin that were placed in a glass-covered box on the dog’s back. Nails were driven into the figure each time its force was invoked through ritual, thereby provoking the spirit into action. Our nkisi nkondi kozo figure was most likely made before 1920, before colonial administrators restricted their use among the Kongo and decreased production of these intriguing sculptures.

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