Buti or nkiba (healing figure)

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Teke artist, Republic of the Congo
Buti or nkiba (healing figure)
Late 19th to early 20th century
Wood, accumulative material
H x W x D: 36.8 x 10.2 x 10.5 cm (14 ½’’ x 4” x 4.1”)
National Museum of African Art, acquisition grant from the James Smithson Society and museum purchase, 90-2-1


Healing with earth. During at least the 19th and 20th centuries, Teke men made wood figures with cavities into which healing materials were inserted and around which earth and other medicines were packed. Such figures were produced at precisely the time when the Teke peoples lost their territories because of colonization.