Lot: 269

Power figure "nkisi" / "nkishi"

D. R. Congo, Songye

Provenance Size Hammer price
Barry Kitnick & Jill Alexander Collection, Los Angeles, USA (1970)
Private Collection, Los Angeles, USA
Joshua Dimondstein, Los Angeles, USA

Barry Kitnick served in the Peace Corps in Liberia in the late 1960s. Upon his return in June 1979, he opened Gallery "K" in West Hollywood, California, where he exhibited African art (closed 1992). In his early thirties, Kitnick became one of the youngest senior appraisers and world-renowned experts on African art and was known for his ability to recognise "the real thing".
H: 13.6 inch (with horn) 4500 EUR

wood, animal fur and horn, plant fibre, base

The figure's body is lavishly wrapped in animal fur, with only the head peeking out. The striking face is covered in a black patina, which is very sweaty in places.

These small "nkisi" were made for the private use of an individual and were kept in their owner's home. In order to motivate the ancestors to provide assistance, suppliants offer prayers and sacrifices to them.