Authentic Bakongo fetishes are very rare. Despite its appearance, the animal fetish below shows no evidence of age or use and was probably made to be sold.
Photographs © Tim Hamill
BAKONGO STYLE, DOG NAIL FETISH 10, 9" x 22", $600
Fetishes were protective figures used by individuals, families, or whole communities to destroy or weaken evil spirits, prevent or cure illnesses, repel bad deeds, solemnize contracts or oath-taking. and decide arguments. A diviner or holy person would activate the statue, using magical substances. Fetishes gained power and were effective because people believed in them.
These power figures take the form of a dog, because of its ability to protect and to search out evil forces. The nails or blades, when driven in, activated its spiritual power, offering protection or serving oath-taking or trial purposes. Small figures were family owned and were used to protect the home, larger ones would protect an entire village.
RETURN TO BAKONGO ANIMAL FETISHES PAGE
GO TO FETISH! EXHIBITION PAGE
GO TO AFRICAN FETISHES PAGE
GO TO FETISHES (VARIOUS TRIBES) PAGE
GO TO AFRICAN ANIMALS PAGE
GO TO ARTIFACTS PAGE
GO TO AFRICAN FIGURES PAGE
GO TO MASKS AND HEADS PAGE
GO TO NEW ADDITIONS PAGE