African art > Used objects, pulleys, boxes, loom, awale > Crucifix Kongo
Kongo Nkangi Kiditu Crucifix (N° 19907)
Collection traditional African art French.
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Among Kongo chiefs in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, the crucifix stood among chieftain regalia as a symbol of power the authority. A ceremony at the investiture of the chief required the future ruler to receive from the hands of a dignitary, in a codified ritual, a nkangi kiditu . This insignia of power, inspired by ancient Christian crucifixes imported by the Portuguese in the 16th century, could also have had a therapeutic function, and, in addition to various uses, was brandished at funeral ceremonies during which the object was subjected to libations of oil or palm wine. Height on base: 29 cm.
The cross would not be a motif specific to the Christian world, as the Kongo considered the four branches to refer to the cycle of human existence. The Kongo also used an initiation ceremony, the kimpasi , in which the aspirant was subjected to a symbolic "death" and then "resurrection." The Kongo applied their worldview to this originally Christian symbol by adapting it to their values.
Source: "Du Jourdain au Congo" ed. Flammarion.
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