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AFC065 African Collection & Exhibit

Wood, iron nails, animal dung. Extremely important nail fetish figurine. The flat iron nails were typical of 19th century local fasteners for wood and wooden structures, and were highly valued and hard to obtain, so this employment of otherwise very useful building materials indicates that this is a very vital part of the ritual tribal magic and represents the equivalent of pure gold and gemstones in a Western ritual item. This figurine was used strictly for magical rituals of inter-tribal warfare -- the nails piercing the flesh is similar to the wall reliefs of Babylon, Sumer and Egypt in which enemies are portrayed as pierced with arrows or swords. The figure was then slimed with dung and placed before a magical fire, while insults and curses were heaped upon it by the medicine chiefs. Bakonga Tribe, Zaire, 14"x7"x6".