Art/ Collection/ Art Object

Figurative Vessel

19th–20th century
Democratic Republic of the Congo
Mangbetu peoples
H. 8 3/16 x W. 6 1/4 x D. 6 1/4 in. (20.8 x 15.9 x 15.9 cm)
Credit Line:
The Michael C. Rockefeller Memorial Collection, Bequest of Nelson A. Rockefeller, 1979
Accession Number:
On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 352
During the second half of the nineteenth century, when the kingdom was most powerful, Mangbetu aristocrats surrounded themselves with a wide variety of finely crafted utilitarian objects--boxes, jars, stools, musical instruments, and weapons. A distinctive tradition of anthropomorphic sculpture associated with Mangbetu culture developed about 1900. Although such forms predate the colonial presence, European patrons greatly expanded the demand for them. These works show the elaborate reed-reinforced coiffures and elongated heads once common among the Mangbetu, who in the past shaped infants' skulls by gentle pressure.
[Stodel en Goudsmit, Netherlands, until 1963]; Nelson A. Rockefeller, New York, 1963, on loan to The Museum of Primitive Art, New York, 1963–1978

Schildkrout, Enid, and Curtis Keim. African Reflections: Art from Northeastern Zaire. New York: American Museum of Natural History, 1990.

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