Explore BrainMass

Nkisi Nkonde and Purpose

What is an Nkisi Nkonde? How is it constructed and what is its purpose?

Solution Preview

African art frequently serves a number of purposes aside from just aesthetics. Clothing, interior and exterior decorations of dwellings and buildings, altars, masks, textiles, and jewelry are all loaded with iconographic elements. Sculpture often represents a deceased relative with whom a family wants to maintain contact, an unborn fetus whom the parents want to be sure will develop into a healthy, bright, and attractive child, or the spirit-twin of a living person (such as a "spirit spouse.") Power figures, as explained in this solution, are among the most potent of the sculptures. They are vessels for votive elements as well as the spirits that are thought to inhabit them. There are different types of power figures, with different materials used, that are created for a multitude of purposes. This solution will give examples and will provide the construction techniques, materials used, and purpose of each example.

To put it simply, in the religions of the Congo and surrounding areas (including Zaire ...