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Kongo (Bakongo, Bashikongo, Kakongo), Angola and Democratic Republic of the Congo

Kozo  nail fetish. Nail fetishes were revered throughout the Kongo kingdom. The nkisi are manipulated by their owner or by a specialist, known as the nganga, in order to please the different spirits and forces that are believed to regulate the world. In order to ‘activate’ these forces and provoke the nkisi, the nganga insults it, sings or creates an explosion in front of it, or may hammer a blade or a nail into its body. The fetish also served to seal agreements, to restore health to the spirit or body, or to destroy an enemy or sorcerer through magic. The present figure is a dog, called kozo fetish. Among the Kongo, dogs are thought to be figures of mediation between the world of the living and the world of the dead; dogs are said to have four eyes, the possibility thus to see beyond that which is ordinarily visible.

Material:  wood, nails, vegetable fiber, raffia, glass

Size: 22”x 8”x 8”

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