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Figure (kiteki)

late 1800s–mid-1900s
Overall: 23 cm (9 1/16 in.)
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The sculptures and the specially selected materials inside assist the prayers of owners for protection from harm, sickness, or loss.


Biteki is the generic name for Yaka figures used as containers for magical ingredients. After being charged by a ritual specialist, they become minkisi, or power objects, and gain the power to either cure or harm. This example, with various leadership accouterments, likely belongs to the category called phuungu. Placed inside a house, the statuette would have protected against witches and other evil.
Figure (kiteki)

Figure (kiteki)

late 1800s–mid-1900s

Africa, Central Africa, Democratic Republic of Congo, Yaka-style carver

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