Kongo Nail Power Figure, Democratic Republic of the Congo
- wood, metal
- Height: 20 3/4 in (52.7 cm)
Merton D. Simpson, New York (inv. no. “3380”), acquired from the above in May 1980
Allan Stone, New York, acquired from the above on June 1, 1989
The slightly turned head surmounts a tall, columnar torso bracketed by arms bent at the elbows and held tightly to the body. The surface is scattered with deeply-embedded nails, blades, and other metal implements, as well as cracks and shallow cavities roughening the surface where others, now lost, were ritually inserted. The eyes, once probably inlaid with charge materials, mirror, glass, or perhaps gunpowder, are now hollow and cavernous leaving a skull-like appearance. Features such as the naturalistically-rounded shape of the brow, the curved profile of the nose above still-visible nostrils, and bands of scarification down the cheeks are weathered but preserved. Despite its aged and weathered condition, the figure exhudes aggressive spiritual power.