Huge and Rare Yombe Nkisi / Nkondi Three – Faced Statue. Vili / Loango Tribe. DRC / Congo. Africa
During the 13th Century, the Kongo people began their expansion into Gabon, Zaire and Angola. One of the original tribes was called the Vili that now stretches across the coasts of Gabon and parts of the old Zaire.
Nail fetishes (aka Nkondi) are created to carry a variety of magical and mystical substances or objects (called Nkissi) such as leaves, roots, and potions. Most of these substances are located in the abdomen… sometimes behind a piece of glass or mirror. The Nkissi are created by a shaman-type person (aka Nganga) to please or manipulate spirits, forces or even other humans. This process was the origin for Voodoo / Vodou in the Caribbean.
There are many tribes who create these revered nail fetishes but Vili are the most creative and intense.
This item is unique in size and 3 – faces. The powerful figure is carved with three faces inter-joined, and sharing a common torso and legs. Various clays and pigment decorate the faces with red, brown, white and black. Eyes are glass indicating supernatural abilities to see and control witches, sorcerers, and malevolent forces. The body is covered with nails, fibers and cloth.
Nkissi substances are behind the mirror/glass cover in the abdomen . . . allowing the Nganga or practitioner to peer into the glass to get insight into the illness, patient discomfort or other negative forces.
The halo of entwined fibers brings the power of this superb piece into one powerful force.
This figure is 32” tall and in good condition. Oxidation, small cracks and worn patina are common for a figure of this age.
For the Very Serious Collector.