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HOME : African & Tribal Art : Masterpieces of African Art : Kongo Ivory Trumpet
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Kongo Ivory Trumpet - DC.0725 (LSO)
Origin: Zaire
Circa: 20th th Century AD
Dimensions: 18" (45.7cm) high
Collection: African Art
Medium: Ivory
Condition: Very Fine

Location: UAE
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This attractive ivory trumpet was made by the Kongo (or Bakongo) people of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Angola and the Congo. It comprises the distal one quarter of a tusk, with the tip carved into a mouthpiece. The swelling midsection is decorated with geometric banding and a rather grotesque face that has a certain similarity to Lega masks, with a wide nose, a deflected upper lip and a fierce expression. The ivory has become darkened and glossy through either time or use.

By the end of the 15th century the Kongo were living in a series of loosely-connected yet autonomous kingdoms. They had a fairly peaceable relationship with early Portuguese explorers, perhaps because the Kongo kingdom was so large and powerful. The kingdom absorbed European traditions and religion without excess bloodshed, and, more importantly, with much of their indigenous culture intact. Indigenous Kongo society was essentially based around the kingship model, with extensive arrays of civil servants and court officials. Their religious beliefs are based around a reverence for the dead who are believed to be able to assist in the determination of future destinies. The kingship system has also generated a considerable range of court regalia, designed to exalt the royal family and attribute them with real or imagined powers over their foes. The materials from which they made echoed their wealth, ivory being even more costly and rare than precious metals. This is an example of such a tradition.

An interesting piece of African art.

- (DC.0725 (LSO))


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