Nail fetishes were normally the property of religious specialists who made a large part of their living out of them. Whenever an oath was being taken in any legal case, the nganga drove a nail into the figure so as to make it active so that its spirit would see to it that the oath taker fulfilled his obligations, spoke the truth or did not break his oath on the penalty of death.
This is a classic piece, the number of nails and iron blades terrifying to its long use. A calabash is attached to the body in which the nganga was thought to see what the future held for the oath taker. Typical eyes of glass.
The contrast between the delicate treatment of the face and the roughness of the nails is particularly striking in this figure. Overall good condition with clear traces of wear and tear due to tribal libations.
Dimensions: Height 125 x Width 35 x Depth 35 cm
Weight: 30 kg
Provenance: former private collection from Belgium. Collected in the period 1953 – 1959 (More details provided to buyer).
Sold with a certificate of authenticity.
This lot can be viewed and picked up at the Asian African Art Gallery in Vessem (NL). Due to the size of this item pick-up is preferred. Transport is possible but shipping costs are for the buyer. Please contact seller if shipping is preferred.
PRICE IS AVAILABLE ON REQUEST