Advanced Search

K-12 Educator
K-12 Student
Museum Visitor
UMMA Docent
UMMA Staff
University Faculty
University Student
Between and Mortarboard


UMMA Object Specific Fields






Query builder

Power Figure

Accession Number
2005/1.183

Title
Power Figure

Artist(s)
Vili (Kongo)

Artist Nationality
Vili

Object Creation Date
circa 1850

Medium & Support
wood, woven cotton fiber, glass, split cane, elephant hair, metal, and resin

Dimensions
9 3/16 in x 3 7/8 in x 3 5/8 in (23.3 cm x 9.8 cm x 9.2 cm)

Credit Line
Gift of Candis and Helmut Stern

Subject matter
Nkisi is a generic term for a class of power objects. These objects are employed as solutions to social and physical problems. They are ritually charged objects, able to facilitate movement of spirits between different points of existence. This figure's crossed legs and arm positioning (one up, one down) signify the ability to connect different points. It represents the thinker, an ancestor who guards and protects the lives of his descendants. 

Physical Description
Carved wooden figure of a human. The umbilicus protrudes and is concave, which would have held magical/medicinal substances. The figure is posed with crossed legs and one hand supporting the head. The face is detailed, with glass eyes. A metal ring was placed around the neck of the figure. The top of the head is empty, but possibly contained magical substances as well. 

Primary Object Classification
Ritual Object

Primary Object Type
minkisi

Collection Area
African

Rights
If you are interested in using an image for a publication, please visit http://umma.umich.edu/request-image for more information and to fill out the online Image Rights and Reproductions Request Form.

Keywords
ancestors
healing
minkisi
power

11 Related Resources

Noguchi/Qi Baishi/Beijing 1930 (Symposium)
(Part of: Isamu Noguchi / Qi Baishi / Beijing 1930)
Backstory: Marketing Art At the Paris Salons
(Part of 2 Learning Collections)
Backstory: Nydia in a Changing Museum
(Part of 2 Learning Collections)
Life in Ceramics Timeline Panel Text
(Part of 4 Learning Collections)
Stephen Rush on U.S. Grand and Fluxus
(Part of: Fluxus and the Essential Questions of Life)
Chinese Water Printing 水印版画
(Part of: Multiple Impressions: Contemporary Chinese Woodblock Prints)
Devotional Objects Across Religions
(Part of 4 Learning Collections)
Treatment and Healing
(Part of: History of Medicine - American Association of Historians of Medicine (AAHM))

& Author Notes

Web Use Permitted