Standing figure (Nkondi)
One stereotype of a fetish clouds our recognition of what this figure once was. The sight of nails being pounded into a human figure is a frequent image in Christianity (representing the Crucifixion), but when an unknown African does it, the figure is called a fetish and is often subjected to flagrantly false accounts of how it was used. To remedy this misunderstanding, the museum consulted with a renowned philosopher from the Kongo, who explains the words and ideas that the nkondi generates.
Wood, iron, fiber, beads, string, glass, feathers, chalk, 31 11/16 x 13 3/8 x 8 11/16 in. (80.5 x 34 x 22 cm), Gift of Katherine White and the Boeing Company, 81.17.836,