BAKONGO

BAKONGO ART were protective figures used by individuals, families, or whole communities to destroy or weaken evil spirits, prevent or cure illnesses, repel bad deeds, solemnize contracts or oath-taking, and decide arguments. A diviner or holy person would activate the statue, using magical substances.

Small Nkondi figures were family owned and were used to protect the home, larger ones would protect an entire village. Covered with bags of magical herbs and studded with blades and nails, which, when driven in, activated its spiritual power. The mirror on the abdomen covers a filled cavity and reflected back evil spirits.

Some power figures take the form of a dog, because of its ability to protect and to search out evil forces.

Old Bakongo fetishes are very rare. Despite their appearance, our figures show no evidence of age or use and were probably made to be sold.

The Bakongo had masks and other objects that are less well known.