UVaM - University of Virginia Art Museum

Collection

Power Figure (minkishi),
20th c.
Songye peoples, Democratic Republic of the Congo
Wood, metal, reptile skin, horn,
24 x 7.5 x 7 inches
Gift of Theodore E. Bratrud, Jr.,
1982.26.2

This well-carved and powerful looking figure, with its extended abdomen, large head, and grimacing mouth, has magical amulets and contains mystical powers instilled by the nganga priest. The horn at the top of the head is filled with medicines and the metal nails hammered into the nose and fore head empower the invisible forces within the figure. This sculpture serves to protect a village from dangerous forces. It is one of the finest examples of this type of Songye sculpture.