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KONGO (Zaïre)
H : 76 cm. Wood, fibres and iron
Musée Dapper - Paris

This statue, whose head has been coated with clear pigment and whose body is trapped in a gangue of cloth and fibres, is pierced all round the reliquary placed on the abdomen by a multitude of different blades. Each of these corresponds to litigation during which the magic powers of the objet were invoked to find a settlement. Made for the community to seal its pacts, alliances and reconciliations, this statue is called a "nkonde" and owes its powers to the magic charm enclosed in the mirrored reliquary by the nganga (medicine man). The aspect of nkondes changes little: warriors they are depicted brandishing an arm or with hands poised on their hips. The face, which is treated with realism, presents the eyes opened wide and the tongue sticking out through sharpened teeth. The terrifying aspect evokes the punishment which will be dealt to those who violate their oath.

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