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Artist Name:

Kongo Artist, Yombe Region, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Republic of the Congo, or Angola




19th century


Wood, feathers, cloth, paint, metal


18 1/2 inches

Credit Line:

Purchase with funds from the Fred and Rita Richman Special Initiatives Endowment Fund for African Art

Accession Number:


On View - Wieland Pavilion, Lower Level, Gallery 102, African Collection
The figure seated at the center of this royal scepter is painted white to show that its authority derives from ancestral and spiritual realms. The stroke of earth-red paint on its torso symbolizes life’s vital force. The feathers that surround the figure at the center of this scepter indicate that it is an nkisi, a medicine of God, concerned with “things of the above.” With a hand raised to its mouth, the figure bites munkwisa, a tenacious plant used in the investiture of Kongo political leaders. Munkwisa leaves are associated with an ability to endure.

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Please Note: Not all permanent collection works are currently on view. Please contact the Museum concerning the on view status for a specific work if required.