Power Figure (Nkishi)
Arts of Africa
To judge by the proliferation of tacks on this nkishi, its function was probably to protect the owner and his or her family from smallpox, a disease widespread and greatly feared in this period.
Wood, glass beads, fiber, cloth, copper alloy
Museum Expedition 1922, Robert B. Woodward Memorial Fund
Wooden figure; soft wood. Fetish. Standing and profusely covered with upholstery tacks, striped cloth, covering fetish material, elaborate necklace of brass beads.
This item is not on view
Songye. Power Figure (Nkishi), 19th century. Wood, glass beads, fiber, cloth, copper alloy, 8 1/2 x 2 3/8 in. (21.5 x 6.0 cm). Brooklyn Museum, Museum Expedition 1922, Robert B. Woodward Memorial Fund, 22.1460. Creative Commons-BY (Photo: Brooklyn Museum, 22.1460_front_PS6.jpg)
front, 22.1460_front_PS6.jpg. Brooklyn Museum photograph, 2011
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