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Wood, stain, pigment, giant nails, metal, fabric, glass & horns
Some cracking throughout
About the Bakongo People
“During the 13th century, the Kongo people were led by their king, Ne Kongo, to the vast area across three frontiers, where they settled. Their kingdom expanded rapidly and, by the end of the 16th century, it engulfed the Atlantic Coast of present-day Gabon, the Republic of Congo, the Democratic Republic of Congo (formerly Zaire) and Angola. In 1482, Portuguese sailors arrived at the royal court in Mbanza Congo and eventually converted the Kongo king to Christianity in 1491. By the end of the 16th century, the kingdom was weakened and its demise came with the death of the last Kongo king, Dom Antonio II, in 1957. Today, the Kongo people number three million.
Originally, the Kongo kingdom comprised a number of separate tribes – the Vili, the Yombe, the Beembe, the Bwende and the Woyo, among others – which were led by a king, the Ntotela, who was elected by a council of governers. The Ntotela controlled the nominations for official positions at court and in the provinces. The main economic resources of the empire were ivory, copper and the slave trade.”
Baquart, Jean-Baptiste. The Tribal Arts of Africa. New York: Thames and Hudson Inc. 1998. Print.
About the Nkisi Nkondi Figure
This piece is a Nkisi Nkondi and it is a class of nkisi that take the form of wood sculptures to which hardware is added over the course of their use, and charged with “hunting” or prosecuting wrongdoers, cementing regional chiefs in maintaining public order. Three major varieties to emerge along the Loango coast in the mid-nineteenth century were Mangaaka, Mabyaala Mandembe (Mabialla), and Mavungu.