Offered is a 20th century post WWII (possibly earlier) Nail Fetish power figure from the Congo, (Formerly known as Zaire) in Africa. Made of wood and metal, the figure is 21" (H) x 12" (W) x 8" (D) and in good vintage condition with one repair to the spear noted. The piece was purchased from a dealer in Taos, New Mexico in the early 1990’s.
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. To inspire the nkondi to action, it was both invoked and provoked. Invocations, in bloodthirsty language, encouraged it to punish a guilty party. It would also be provoked by having gunpowder exploded in front of it, and having nails hammered into it. They were also used to literally "hammer out agreements"...with clear implications as to what would happen to people who broke the agreements