African art > African statues : tribal fetish, maternity > Statue of Congo
Statue of Congo (N° 14241)
African art and naturalistic sculptures of the Kongo peoples
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The Solongo cultures of Angola and Yombé were largely influenced by the Kongo kingdom from which they borrowed naturalistic statuary and religious laughs through fetishes carved nkondo nkisi.
This figure of a woman with an altier port, seated in a suit, embodies the mythical ancestor presumably associated with the cults of fertility. His body is incised with many carefully entangled scarifications. These cuts, made using needles, knives and razors, were then sprayed with coal or ash to accelerate healing and form salient patterns. The command stick, the dignitary cap, the jewels, underline its social status. The glass gaze, a mark of foresight, reflects his access to the realm of spirits and divination. Slight cracks. Grainy red-brown skate, locally chipped.
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 with the God called Nzambi through consecrated figures named nkisi . Ref. In: "The Maternity in the Black African Art" Massa; ", The Tribal Art of Black Africa" Bacquart.
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