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    Artist Name:

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




    nineteenth century


    Wood, feathers, cloth, paint, and metal


    17 3/4 × 9 1/2 × 5 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
    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.
    • Conversations With A Curator: African Art Episode 3

      Get an inside look at pieces in the High's African Art Collection. Personal insights are from Carol Thompson, the High's Curator of African Art.
      Watch the Video Now

    Reproduction of digital images, including downloading, is governed by copyright laws and international conventions. Please contact the Images and Rights Coordinator for information concerning permissions or to request digital photography of works in the High's collection.

    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.

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