Tribal art > African Statues > Kongo Crucifix
Kongo Crucifix (N° 21096)
Ex. Belgian African tribal art collection.
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Among chiefs Kongo in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, the crucifix held the place, among the chieftaincy regalia, of 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 badge of power, inspired by ancient Christian crucifixes imported by the Portuguese in the sixteenth century, could also have a therapeutic function, and, in addition to various uses, was brandished during funeral ceremonies in which the object was subjected to libations of oil or palm wine.
Desiccation cracks, satin patina.
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; "Art sans pareil" ed. Julien Volper.
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|Origin||Ex. coll. belge L. Van Liere|
|Country||rdc ex zaire|
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