Other Works Gifted by Helmut and Candis Stern

This anthropomorphic <em>nkisi</em>, or power figure, stands upright with its head turned 90 degrees to the side. Like many <em>minkisi</em>, this one features a wide range of materials. A long metal chain hangs around its neck and a fiber packet containing medicinal substances is tied across its forehead with its loose ends dangling far below. More fiber is wrapped around its lower torso. The face features a slightly parted mouth and large eyes with attentive, black pupils. Protruding from the figure is a large, prominent belly, upon which is affixed a small horn.  
Vili (Kongo)
Power Figure
wood, tukula powder, fiber, metal chain, mirror, animal horn, glass, resin and split cane
5 15/16 in x 2 9/16 in x 2 3/8 in (15 cm x 6.5 cm x 6 cm);5 15/16 in x 2 9/16 in x 2 3/8 in (15 cm x 6.5 cm x 6 cm)
Gift of Candis and Helmut Stern
This exquisite Vili whistle (<em>nsiba</em>) is has two separate components: the body of the whistle is a gazelle horn that has been placed through a small, conical hole in the rounded base of a delicately carved wooden cap. Upon this cap, two nearly identical birds, with their talons clutching the base, stand face-to-face and chest-to-chest, grasping onto a single spherical object representing a peanut between their open beaks. Given this motif, the carving naturally possesses a high degree of symmetry and balance. The cap is further embellished by a smooth and polished finish.
Vili (Kongo)
wood and antelope horn
8 7/16 in x 1 7/8 in x 1 7/8 in (21.43 cm x 4.76 cm x 4.76 cm);2 3/16 in x 1 7/8 in x 1 7/8 in (5.56 cm x 4.76 cm x 4.76 cm);4 in x 1 1/16 in x 9/16 in (10.16 cm x 2.7 cm x 1.43 cm);3 3/8 in x 1 3/8 in x 1 in (8.57 cm x 3.49 cm x 2.54 cm);8 7/16 in x 1 7/8 in x 1 7/8 in (21.43 cm x 4.76 cm x 4.76 cm)
Gift of Candis and Helmut Stern
This ovoid, wooden Bembe mask depicts a human face. The right half of the face, however, has been painted black, creating a bifurcated appearance. Its facial characteristics include large, almond-shape eyes set in rounded, ocular cavities; a slender nose; and, an open mouth painted white. Most striking, however, are the long, black and white porcupine quills that have been carefully tied around the mask’s perimeter, yielding a dramatic, formidable look.
wood, porcupine quills, pigment, and raffia
14 in x 5 15/16 in x 2 in (35.5 cm x 15 cm x 5 cm)
Gift of Candis and Helmut Stern
A naturalistic rendering of a human face. Eyes carved in relief are convex and almond-shaped with narrow slits and are placed in round, concave eye sockets. Nose is slender at the bridge and rounded at the tip. The horizontal mouth is partially opened. Half rounded ears display metal loops, one includes a tag with the number 039641-HAV(?). The "hair" is attached with a cloth headband, covered in snakeskin, placed high on the forehead and is made from clay and red tukula powder. The face shows striated, scarifcation patters underneath and to the sides of the eyes; the forehead shows is a chingelyengelye cross motif. The patina is smooth and redish brown in color.
Pwo Mask
wood, tukula powder, clay, string, metal, fur, snakeskin, cloth
11 7/8 in x 11 1/4 in x 6 11/16 in (30.1 cm x 28.6 cm x 17 cm)
Gift of Candis and Helmut Stern
This wooden comb, or <em>cisakulo,</em> is composed of six long teeth and an anthropomorphic support. Its handle includes a rectangular section with multiple bands of diagonal, incised lines. This section along with the teeth of the comb visually form an abstracted body for the delicately carved head, which sits atop the handle. These lined motifs as well as the fine facial features are similar to those found in the figural carvings of the neighboring Chokwe; the striated turbanesque coiffure, however, is distinctly characteristic of the Lwena style.
6 5/16 in x 2 in x 1 5/16 in (16.03 cm x 5.08 cm x 3.33 cm)
Gift of Candis and Helmut Stern
The pipe consists of a long, curved stem, a bone mouthpiece, and a bowl delicately sculpted in the form of a male head. Rectangular ears protrude sideways, while a curved chin and inverted T-shaped nose jut forward. Geometric designs characteristic of Kuba carving adorn the face, neck, and coiffure. A number of brass tacks stud the pipe, and fine copper wire has been carefully wound around the stem. Camwood powder, highly prized throughout Central Africa, has been added to its surface.<br /><br />
Reference:<br />
Maurer, Evan M. and Niangi Batulukisi.  <em>Spirits Embodied:  Art of the Congo, Selections from the Helmut F. Stern Collection</em>.  Minneapolis:  The Minneapolis Institute of Arts, 1999.
wood, copper wire, bone, brass tacks, and twool (tukula) powder
6 11/16 in x 17 5/16 in x 1 3/4 in (16.99 cm x 43.97 cm x 4.45 cm);6 11/16 in x 17 5/16 in x 1 3/4 in (16.99 cm x 43.97 cm x 4.45 cm)
Gift of Candis and Helmut Stern
This carved, dark wooden drinking vessel features a standing female figure, whose disproportionately large head is nearly one-half of the entire piece’s height. The object displays the influence of foreign styles: the body reflects a Leele aesthetic while the scarifications are reminiscent of the Kuba. The facial features, however, are distinctly Wongo.<br />
The woman stands attentively with her palms resting on her upper thighs. Her coiffure consists of an intricate diamond-shape pattern carved in relief; diamond-shape motifs appear again as scarifications across the temples and throughout the torso, from the upper chest to the pelvis. Her facial traits include prominent cheekbones; a slightly arched eyebrow ridge that meets in the middle; and, a long, fine nose. The interior of the cup is smooth and polished. A piece of string has been loosely tied around the figure’s left leg.
Palm Wine Cup
wood and natural fibers
10 7/16 in x 4 3/4 in x 2 in (26.5 cm x 12 cm x 5 cm)
Gift of Candis and Helmut Stern
This standing female <em>nkisi mihasi</em>, or “benevolent” power figure, has been carved in light wood and exhibits many of the typical traits associated with the Luba Shankadi style, and more specifically, with the Mwanza center of production. These features include its disproportionately large, ovoid face, half open coffeebean-like eyes, wide mouth with full lips, triangular nose, high, convex forehead, cascading coiffure, protruding umbilicus, and, diamond-shaped tattoos carved in relief on the belly and in horizontal lines on the lower back and upper thighs. The figure stands with slightly flexed knees and with its arms bent at the elbows such that its palms rest upon the breasts, a pose commonly seen throughout Luba figural depictions of women.
Power Figure
9 5/8 in x 2 11/16 in x 2 1/2 in (24.45 cm x 6.83 cm x 6.35 cm)
Gift of Candis and Helmut Stern
This set of bellows features an elegantly carved male head as a finial. Sitting atop a cylindrical neck that has been pierced with a metal ring, the polished male head features an ovoid face; a high forehead with a vertical line; scarified lines across the cheekbones; and, a coiffure with a finely, detailed pattern at the front and parted down the center.<br />
The man’s “torso” is a trapezoidal piece of wood while two long iron rods functioning as handles represent his “legs.” A pair of round chambers—one on each side of his torso—would originally have had leather bags attached to them, allowing for the pumping of air to heat a fire or forge.
wood and iron
24 15/16 in x 17 11/16 in x 5 15/16 in (63.3 cm x 44.9 cm x 15 cm)
Gift of Candis and Helmut Stern
This imposing, anthropomorphic Songye <em>nkisi</em>, or power figure, stands upright and features an assemblage of man-made, vegetal, and animal components. Most strikingly, a large antelope horn protrudes vertically from the figure’s head, and two animal teeth have been affixed to the corners of its mouth giving the appearance of fangs. Bearing wide, alert eyes, this fearsome figure is enswathed by civet and monkey skin. Horns, including a smaller one inserted into a larger one, have been tightly strapped around the figure’s chest. Also attached to the figure are seed pods, an ax blade, and glass beads. A medicine bundle carrying feathers and a horn hangs behind the figure's back.
Power Figure
wood, civet and monkey skin, woven vegetable fiber, feathers, seed pods, animal teeth, antelope horns, glass beads, metal
24 7/16 in x 11 13/16 in x 9 13/16 in (62 cm x 30 cm x 25 cm)
Gift of Candis and Helmut Stern
iron, ivory, leather sheath
9 1/4 in x 1 9/16 in x 1 in (23.5 cm x 4 cm x 2.5 cm);9 1/4 in x 1 9/16 in x 1 in (23.5 cm x 4 cm x 2.5 cm)
Gift of Candis and Helmut Stern
This wooden figure depicts a standing female whose body is adorned with red cloth and multiple metal rings, some of which have turned green due to oxidation. Arms, legs, facial details, and a coiffure are not present.  <br />
Power Figure
wood, cloth, and metal
4 3/4 in x 3 1/8 in x 2 in (12 cm x 8 cm x 5 cm)
Gift of Candis and Helmut Stern

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86 Collection Object Sources

Power Figure (2005/1.177)
Whistle (2005/1.181)
Mask (2005/1.195)
Pwo Mask (2005/1.201)
Comb (2005/1.203)
Pipe (2005/1.208A&B)
Palm Wine Cup (2005/1.211)
Power Figure (2005/1.215)
Bellows (2005/1.217)
Power Figure (2005/1.229)
Knife (2005/1.233)
Power Figure (2005/1.237)
Figure (2005/1.239)
Fertility Doll (2005/1.254)
Fertility Doll (2005/1.257)
Caryatid stool (2005/1.204)
Figure (2005/1.185)
Seated Figure (2005/1.186)
Female Figure (2005/1.196.1)
Whistle (2005/1.202)
Cup (2005/1.210)
Power Figure (2005/1.212)
Power Figure (2005/1.218)
Mask (2005/1.219)
Chief's Stool (2005/1.224)
Prestige Adze (2005/1.225)
Power Figure (2005/1.227)
Scepter (2005/1.230)
Headdress (2005/1.246)
Doll Figure (2005/1.249)
Power Figure (2005/1.178)
Power Figure (2005/1.182)
Figure (1952/1.84)
Power figure (2005/1.189)
Ancestor figure (2005/1.190)
Power Figure (2005/1.192)
Mask (2005/1.194)
Amulet Pendant (2005/1.198)
Amulet Pendant (2005/1.199)
Figure (2005/1.216)
Pestle (2005/1.221)
Gourd (2001/2.23)
Stool (2005/1.240)
Animal Figure (2005/1.241)
Figure (2003/2.47)
Power Figure (2005/1.220.2)
Fertility Doll (2005/1.256)
Power Figure (2005/1.179)
Power Figure (2005/1.191)
Figure (2005/1.193)
Mortar (2005/1.205)
Power Figure (2005/1.220.1)
Power Figure (2005/1.223)
Power Figure (2005/1.226)
Power Figure (2005/1.236)
Diviner's Staff (2005/1.238)
Mask (2003/2.43)
Door Lock (2005/1.244)
Kneeling Figure (2005/1.245)
Doll Figure (2005/1.248)
Figure (2005/1.253)
Figure (2005/1.251)
Male Figure (2005/1.196.2)
Fertility Doll (2005/1.255)
Fly whisk (2005/1.176)
Power Figure (2005/1.180)
Power Figure (2005/1.183)
Amulet Pendant (2005/1.197)
Mask (2005/1.200)
Cup (2005/1.207)
Drinking Horn (2005/1.209)
Power Figure (2005/1.214)
Power Figure (2005/1.222)
nkisi (2005/1.228)
Calabash (kileu) (2005/1.231)
Knife (2005/1.234)
Oliphant (2005/1.235)
Ogboni gong (2005/1.242)
Ritual Trough (2005/1.252)
Divination Tray (2005/1.259)

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November 12, 2021 6:59 a.m.


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