Nkisi n’kondi are wooden figures into which metal nails, blades and pegs are inserted and come mainly from the northern part of the Congo region. N’kondi translates to ‘hunter’ and is often are invoked to find and punish to criminals. Each individual insert represents either an agreement between two parties, a commitment to protect against enemies, or a promise of revenge.

in 2003 UNESCO reported that only 22 northern white rhinos remained in the Congo. They were being killed by rebel troops who traded their horns to artisans in Yemen. Used in the manufacture of traditional daggers, these sell for £4,500 a pair.


19th-early 20th century Nkisi N’kondi figure from the Yale African Art Collection
Yemeni Jambiya dagger with rhino horn handle for sale online at €1,676.46