Art/ Collection/ Art Object

Figure: Female

19th–20th century
Democratic Republic of the Congo, Sankuru River
Kuba peoples
Wood, camwood powder
H. 16 5/8 x W. 5 in. (42.2 x 12.7 cm)
Credit Line:
Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Alan Bresler, Mr. and Mrs. Robert Bevill, Mr. and Mrs. Dale Ledbetter, and Mr. and Mrs. Gilbert Schulman, 1977
Accession Number:
Not on view
Ambitious and status-conscious Kuba officials require splendid sumptous articles as visible signs of their wealth and rank. Highly specialized artists--carvers, smiths, weavers, embroiderers, leather workers, jewelers, event hat and pipe-makers--supply their needs. Kuba art consists mostly of such useful objects as cups for drinking palm wine, boxes for storing cosmetics and valuables, pipes, and spoons--all of which are elaborated beyond mere function by their sophisticated forms and lavish decoration. Except for portraits of kings, figural sculpture is rare; instead, cups are made in human form, frequently bearing the ornate hairstyles and shaved hairlines worn by titled Kuba officials. The intricate geometric patterns that cover the surfaces of Dengese and Kuba sculpture are borrowed from the motifs embroidered on luxurious velvet raffia cloths.
[Alfred L. Scheinberg Galleries, New York]; Bevill, Bresler & Schulman, New Jersey, until 1977

Vansina, Jan. La Royaume Kuba. Tervuren: Royal Museum for Central Africa, 1964.

Vansina, Jan. The Children of Woot. Madison: University of Wisconsin Press, 1978.

Cornet, Joseph. Art Royal Kuba. Milan: Edizioni Sipiel, 1982.

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