Astonishing Nkonde fetish pair. Incredibly rare and unusual (1 of 3)
Astonishing Nkonde fetish pair. Incredibly rare and unusual (2 of 3)
Astonishing Nkonde fetish pair. Incredibly rare and unusual (3 of 3)
Greystones Fine Interiors
Greystones Fine Interiors is located in Peterborough, United Kingdom

Astonishing Nkonde fetish pair. Incredibly rare and unusual

REF: LA334276
Astonishing and Powerful Nkonde fetish pair. Incredibly rare and unusual. Wood and extensive metal (handmade shards and nails), horns, fabric adornments, medicine pouches and powder behind the glazed eyes and around the neck. One figure has a frontal reliquary. Chain and rope bindings. Standing at 130cm tall, 45cm wide and 35cm deep. Each Nikondi weights approximately 22kg. As with much African art it is difficult to accurately date figures, this piece was bought from an established dealer in Marrakech who attested the pieces to be from the first half of the 19th Century. From our own perspective 50-70 years might be a safer estimate. Limitations of carbon dating (+/_ 45 years) stand in the way of securing a scientifically precise and verified age. The primary function of a nkondi is to be the home of a spirit which can travel out from its base, hunt down and harm other people. Many nkondi were publicly held and were used to affirm oaths, or to protect villages and other locations from witches or evildoers. This is achieved by enlisting spiritual power through getting them to inhabit minkisi like nkondi. The vocabulary of nkondi has connections with Kongo conceptions of witchcraft which are anchored in the belief that it is possible for humans to enroll spiritual forces to inflict harm on others through cursing them or causing them to have misfortune, accidents, or sickness. A frequently used expression for hammering in the nails into a nkondi is "koma nloka" (to attach or hammer in a curse) derives from two ancient Bantu roots *-kom- which includes hammering in its semantic field, and *-dog- which involves witchcraft and cursing, "Kindoki", a term derived from the same root is widely associated with witchcraft, or effecting curses against others, but in fact refers to any action intended to enlist spirits to harm others. If exercised privately for selfish reasons, the use of this power is condemned as witchcraft, but if the power is used publicly by a village, tribe, political leaders, or as a protective measure by innocent people, however, it is not considered witchcraft. Nkondi, like other minkisi, are constructed by religious specialists, called nganga. The nganga gathers materials, called nlongo which when assembled, will become the home of a spirit. Often these materials include a carved human figure into which the other bilongo are placed. The nganga then either becomes possessed with the spirit or places the finished nkondi in a graveyard or other place where spirits frequent. Once it is charged, the nkondi can then be handed over to the client. According to Kongo testimony of the early twentieth century, people drive nails into the figures as part of a petition for help, healing, or witness-particularly of contracts and pledges. The purpose of the nailing is to "awaken" and sometimes to "enrage" the nkisi to the task in hand. Nkondi figures could be made in many forms, those that used human images were most often nailed. Human figures ranged in size from small to life-size and contained bilongo (often translated as "medicine"), usually hidden by resin-fixed mirrors. Nkondi in the form of wooden figures were often carved with open cavities in their bodies for these substances. The most common place for storage was the belly, though such packs are also frequently placed on the head or in pouches surrounding the neck. In most nkondi figures the eyes and medicine pack covers were reflective glass or mirrors, used for divination. The reflective surface enabled the nkisi to see in the spirit world in order to spy out its prey. The creation and use of nkondi figures was also a very important aspect to their success. Banganga often composed the nkondi figures at the edge of the village. The village was thought of as being similar to the human body. The idea that the edge and entrances needed to be protected from evil spirits occurred in both the human body and the village. When composing the minkisi, the nganga is often isolated in a hidden camp, away from the rest of the village. After the nkisi was built and the nganga had learned its proper use and the corresponding songs, he returned to the village covered in paint and behaving in a strange manner. The unusual behavior was to illustrate the ngangas return to the land of the living. Prior to using the nkondi, the nganga recited specific invocations to awaken the nkondi and activate its powers. During their performances, banganga often painted themselves. White circles around the eyes allowed them to see beyond the physical world and see the hidden sources of evil and illness. White stripes were painted on the participants. Often, the nganga was dressed similar to his nkondi. Banganga generally dressed in outfits that were vastly different than normal people. They wore ornate jewelry and often incorporated knots in their clothing. The knots were associated with a way of closing up or sealing of spiritual forces.


140 cm
45 cm
35 cm
22 kg


Greystones Fine Interiors has clarified that the Astonishing Nkonde fetish pair. Incredibly rare and unusual (LA334276) is genuinely of the period declared with the date/period of manufacture being 1920-1950


Generally good, commensurate with age and environmental conditions. Some erosion of the wood and abrasions here and there. However the pieces retain integrity and are simply wonderful

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Can be shipped within the UK and Internationally, at cost.


This Astonishing Nkonde fetish pair. Incredibly rare and unusual is located in Peterborough, United Kingdom

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