Nail and mirror fetishes (nkisi) are an unique and important phenomenon of Kongo sculpture, represents a container of empowering materials or "medicines". Because of their commanding presence nkisi display a conspicuous force. In any collection they attract immediate attention.
The nkisi, properly endowed with magic substances aid the nganga or the medicine man. Some nkisi are used in divination practices and healing, while others provide success in hunting, trade, or sex. They may also take the form of anthropomorphic or zoomorphic wooden carvings. Dog thought to be helpful in protection and search for missing items.
Each nail in Nkisi represents a petition to the force contained in this particular figure.