A Power Figure’s Power over History
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The “Nail Fetish” Power Figure (referred to as nkisi or nkonde), found in the Museum of Art and Archaeology at the University of Missouri, offers much insight into the Iron Age history of Central Africa. This piece comes from the Congo, specifically the Bakongo people. Although it was made in the 1930s, its composition and styling are similar to that of the art produced in the Iron Age. Thus, it is a useful tool in understanding practices and beliefs of the time. This nkisi offers valuable insight into the manufacturing, religious, and social constructs in Central Africa during the Iron Age.