early 1800s-early 1900s
Overall: 9.7 x 3.8 x 3.3 cm (3 13/16 x 1 1/2 x 1 5/16 in.)
René and Odette Delenne Collection, Leonard C. Hanna, Jr. Fund 2010.436
The stomach cavity was once filled with medicinal substances; once removed, the nkisi figure is considered “decommissioned.”
This figurine or finial may have contained a medicine-filled package on its abdomen. The man seated with his legs crossed and wearing a coiffure of Portuguese inspiration may represent a chief, which was once attached to a scepter or perhaps a flywhisk. Beneath the chief, a child holds onto his back; though such imagery is more typically seen with female sculptures.
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