African art > Jars, amphoras, pots, matakam > Mangbetu Box

Mangbetu Box (N° 22898)

Clever composition for this mangbetu-type container made up of sculpted figures. The body traces, like those of the face, represent the traditional paintings of the ethnic group, inspired by the tattoos of the neighboring Asua pygmies, and which varied according to the circumstances. Among the Mangbetu, from an early age, children of the upper classes suffered compression of the cranial box, held tight by raffia ties. Later, the hair was "knitted" on wicker strands and a headband encircled the forehead in order to constitute this majestic headdress accentuating the elongation of the skull. The ancients call beli the anthropomorphic figures embodying ancestors, stored out of sight, and comparable to those belonging to their secret society nebeli. Shiny mahogany patina, cracks and small erosions.
The Mangebetu kingdom in northern Congo produced architectural works that impressed European visitors in the 19th century. Their furniture, weapons, ornaments and statuary were imbued with a rare aesthetic quality.  

 


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OriginEx-collection française
EthnyMangbetu
Countryrdc ex zaire
Material(s)wood
Height cm55
Width14 cm
Weight4.20 Kg

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