Tribal art > Usual african items > Kongo crucifix
Kongo Nkangi Kiditu crucifix (N° 20196)
Among Kongo chiefs in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, the crucifix stood as a symbol of power and authority among chieftaincy regalia. A ceremony at the investiture of the chief required that the future ruler 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 at funeral ceremonies during which the object was subjected to libations of oil or palm wine.
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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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|Country||rdc ex zaire|
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