The gallery will feature around 50 of these distinctive carved statues which will be exhibited next to paintings by the French artist Pierre Soulages. Among the highlights of the show will be this rare example of a Nkissi figure from the Yombe tribe.
It is made from wood with additions of basketry, horn, leather, resin/wax, shell, glass and a mirror, dates from the 19th century and stands 10¼in (26cm) high.
Such power figures were created to contain mystical forces and were worshipped by their holder or a specialist called nganga to appease the spirits that ruled the world. Some, like these, feature one or more element of medicinal matter which house the vital essence of the statuette.
Here these materials are hidden behind the glass mirror and in the hairstyle. It is rare for such figures to have survived without being dispossessed of their ritual matter.
This example was collected c.1901-2 and kept in the same family. It is priced at around €100,000 in the Kongo exhibition.