Nail fetish comparisons
This page was never really intended for the general public, but Google picked it up and is now pointing to it on Internet searches and I will leave it up. I
originally created this page to share with a few collectors who have emailed me about these figures.

If you came to this page just looking for
information on the Kongo nail fetish figures, then I would say your best bet is to go to the information page for these
figures on my website.
CLICK HERE to go to the page.

I put this page together with some examples of various types of nail fetish figures. I put it together as a visual reference for myself and share it with people
that ask me questions about nail fetish figures. These figures are produced in mass numbers specifically for the market and it is often hard to tell what is
good and what is bad. I am NO EXPERT by any means, but I have attempted to try and point out good and bad points about the figures I have on this page.

My comments on this page are just my opinion. Some people may agree with me and others may disagree.

You will see that I pay a lot of attention to the faces on the figures. I think the faces are an important part of the figures since the faces and the feet  were
basically the main part of the figure that was "carved". You will find that there was a lot of attention put into the detail of the faces in the old traditional
examples and the faces on the ones made for market there isn't as much attention put into the faces and they often look crude, in my opinion.

This page still isn't completed, I am working on it as I have time. There are a LOT of photos on this page.
This page contains examples that are not so good in my opinion and at the bottom of the page I included a link to a set of good examples.

First set of examples....

The bad or not so good examples in my eye
The good points:
It looks like the figure has glass over the eyes, this is something that is generally found in
traditional styled pieces most of the time.
The placement of the blades and nails is fairly random.

Bad points:
The carving of the face is extremely exaggerated, the mouth is not what you would see
on a traditional figure. The ball in the belly is something also wrong with this figure in my

The figure was most likely made for the trade and made to look old.
Good points: nail and blade placement

Bad points: everything else.
Good points: none

Bad points: nail and blade placement is too uniform, the face is
expressionless and no glass over the eyes, you will almost
NEVER see an old traditional figure with the spear still intact.

It's a piece made to look old for the market, and not a good one.
An interesting figure, but in my opinion it is overdone with the amount of
nails in it. There are traditional examples with lots of nails, but when you
look closely at the face the patina is wrong.  There is glass over the eyes,
but the piece was most likely made for the market and made to look older.  
Not sure where to start with this figure? From the top down, the face is crudely carved
and is just not an aesthetically appealing figure, at least to me. The placement of the
nails and blades is OK, but the overall look if the figure is just wrong. It is a piece
made for the market, and not made very well in my opinion.

There is an old traditional example in the figures at the bottom of the page that has
feathers in the head, it is a beautiful piece.
I think the figure speaks for itself. A
crude attempt to make a nail fetish for
the market.
A very bad example in my opinion. The dealer is asking almost $800 for this piece. It is a bad example, made to look old, there
are no good points to this piece at all, in my opinion.
This one was being offered on an Internet auction site, it is also a piece that was made specifically for the
market and not a very good example at all in my opinion.
The nails are pretty uniform but again it is the face that doesn't seem "right".
The thing that is hard to tell is if the nails are actually old and handmade nails. You don't know this
unless you know something about nails and can see them in person.
Just a bad example overall (above)
The figure above isn't bad stylistically speaking in my opinion. I say this mainly because of the face on the figure, which still isn't right in my
opinion, but it is getting close. I don't think the figure is old but it's not a bad small example.
Not old, but not a bad piece in my
opinion. I have seen this one in person
and I actually liked it.
For additional examples of figures that I think are good
examples and are older or published examples
to go to Page 2 of the examples