Central figure,16th–17th century; top and bottom figures, 18th–19th century
Democratic Republic of the Congo or Angola, Lower Congo region
Kongo peoples; Kongo Kingdom
Central figure: brass (open back cast); top and bottom figures: brass (solid cast); nails: iron (forged), copper, brass (forged), wood, ultramarine pigment
H. 10 1/4 in. (26 cm), W. 5 3/4 in. (14.5 cm), D. 1 in. (2.5 cm)
Gift of Ernst Anspach, 1999
Not on view
This composite artifact may be an interpretation of the Trinity. The three individually cast Christ figures were affixed to the wood cross with nails and copper loops. The central one is more finely rendered and may be earlier in date. Among the varieties of European crosses in eighteenth-century Kongo that may have served as a point of reference was the Caravaca form, brought to the region by Capuchin missionaries. It incorporates double crossbars with a lower horizontal extension of angels.
Lee Bronson, Los Angeles, until 1990; (Sotheby's, New York, November 20,1990, lot141); Ernst Anspach, New York, 1990–99
LaGamma, Alisa. Kongo: Power and Majesty. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 2015, p. 110, fig. 64.