African art > Spoons, ladles > Mangbetu Spoon
Mangbetu Spoon (N° 22147)
Belgian African art collection.
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Anthropomorphic spoons are recurring in tribal art. It is distinguished by the quality and finesse of its sculpture. We find there all the canons of Luba art including the mythical hairstyle. Although ritual, the spoon also quickly became an outward sign of wealth.
The Mangebetu kingdom in northern Congo produced architectural works that impressed European visitors in the 19th century. Their furniture, weapons, ornaments, everyday objects and statuary were imbued with a rare aesthetic quality. The ethnologist G.A. Schweinfurth in 1870 described its symmetry and refinement, while at the same time testifying to the ritual murders and human sacrifices practiced by "the people of the elongated heads".
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