And Robert Farris Thompson (in Van Dyke 2008: 176) continues: "The Kongo use of dog images in mvita, or spiritual warfare, against dangerous forces is a ritual intensification of the power of dogs to track and sniff out prey. [The Kongo] believe that between the city of the living and the city of the dead lies a village of dogs. Dogs are conversant with both worlds, and they seek out evil on both sides of kalunga, or the line that divides this world from the next. [...] The term [nkondi] plays on the verb "to hunt" (mu kondwa), and the nkondi [...] operates like a hunter, ferreting out quarry. It is also a material cosmogram: jaws point to the east and west, [a clay receptacle is] directed at the north (up), and well-anchored legs stand to the south (below). In other words, nkondi mbwa, or the Kongo dog-blade image, has the power to see ku ntwala ye ku nima ('forward and back') and ku mpemba ye ku nseke ('below and above'). The ritual authority who commissioned this image and the artist who created it thus elaborated a deep, secret form of visual word play: mansweki, mampinda ma nsadulu a mambu. War on witchcraft is often dramatized with an arsenal of mystical puns."
Double-headed dogs are exceedingly rare, the one from the Allan Stone Collection counting among the few last large-scale examples in private hands. It can be compared to several closely related figures in institutional collections, including one in the Ethnologisches Museum, Berlin (inv. no. "III C 13687"); a second in the Staatliches Museum für Völkerkunde, Munich (inv. no. "57-13-5"); a third in the Musée Barbier-Mueller, Geneva (inv. no. "1021-35"); and a fourth in The Menil Collection, Houston (inv. no. "77-03 DJ").
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