African art > Pirogue > Pirogue Kongo

Pirogue Kongo (N° 17094)

This sculpted canoe features a crew of bust figures surrounding a larger effigy, wearing helmets enhanced by pigments of various colors. The hull, on which residual green and red pigments are still visible, is engraved with geometric patterns. Shard on the stern. Unknown use.
In the 13th century, the Kongo people, led by their king Ne Kongo, settled in a region at the crossroads of the borders between present-day DRC, Angola and Gabon. Two centuries later, the Portuguese came into contact with the Kongo and converted their king to Christianity. Although monarchical, the Kongo political system had a democratic aspect because the king was actually placed at the head of the kingdom following an election held by a council of tribal governors. This king, also known as ntotela, controlled the appointment of court and provincial officials. The nganga, both healers, were in charge of religious activities and mediation towards the God called Nzambi through consecrated figures named nkisi.  

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Originex-collection Mercier
EthnyKongo
Countryrdc ex zaire
Material(s)wood
Height20
Width43
Weight0.75 Kg
Estimated datingmid-xx°

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