African art > African pipes in wood, in bronze > Pipe Mangbetu
Pipe Mangbetu (N° 17410)
Established in the forest in northeastern Zaire, the Mangbetu kingdom has expressed itself through architectural works that impressed European visitors in the 19th century. Their furniture, weapons, adornments and statuary were imbued with a rare aesthetic quality. The Mangbetu story was based on the refinement of his court but also on cannibalistic customs. King Mangbetu Munza was so dubbed The cannibal king. The body lines on the characters, like those of the face, include the traditional paintings of the ethnic group, inspired by the tattoos of the nearby Asua pygmies, and which varied according to the circumstances. Indeed, among the Mangbetu from an early age, upper-class children suffered a compression of the cranial box, held tight by rapia ties. Later, the hair was 'knitted' on wicker strands and a headband would enser the forehead to bring out the hair and form this majestic headdress accentuating the elongation of the skull. The ancients name beli the anthropomorphic figures embodying ancestors, stored out of sight, and comparable to those belonging to their secret society nebeli .
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