Nkisi Nkondi figures, often referred to as "nail fetishes", are endowed with a magical "charge" (bilongo) made from vital substances such as earth from an important person's grave, or bodily elements from fierce animals (i. e. leopards) or abnormal humans such as epilectics.
The figures are insulted and "hurt" with explosions and nails so that they will carry out the wishes of their tormentor. Some bear small bundles of textile or other organic material referred to as "dogs". These direct the vengeful spirits to the correct source, so a fragment of goat hair tied to the nkisi would ensure that the spirit hunted down the thief who had taken the animal.
The Kongo (or Bakongo) people live in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Angola and the Congo. Their religious beliefs are based around a reverence for the dead who are believed to be able to assist in the determination of future destinies. The Nkisi Nkondis can be appealed to for assistance in times of duress.
This specimen was acquired from Karen Lovatto, the owner of the now closed store , On the Road to Hanalei, which was a unique and popular gallery in Ching Young Village in Hanalei for over 35 years. It is a superior example because it has numerous "dogs" on its back, attached at the time of the appeal.
25"H x 10"W x 10"D