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Africa
Songye peoples, Democratic Republic of the Congo
Power Figure, Nkishi
Wood, iron, horn, fiber, cowrie shells, snakeskin, hair, incrustation
H. 12 1/2 in. (32 cm)
Raymond and Laura Wielgus Collection
Indiana University Art Museum, 74.55.3


For the Songye, power figures secure assistance from the supernatural world for a variety of benefits, including protection against sorcery, ensuring a successful harvest, or preventing miscarriages. Some materials attached to the wooden figure are believed to give it these supernatural powers, while others amplify how the figure was used.