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Kongo: Power and Majesty
LaGamma, Alisa (2015)
This title is in print.

ARLIS/NA George Wittenborn Memorial Book Award, Winner (2015); International Tribal Art Book Prize, Winner (2015); PROSE Award for Excellence in Art Exhibitions, Honorable Mention (2015); Foreword Reviews' Book of the Year Award, Gold Winner in Art (2015); A Publishers Weekly Art, Architecture, & Photography Top Ten Book for 2015.

Read an interview with Alisa LaGamma on Now at the Met.

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Inside the Catalogue—"Kongo: Power and Majesty".


A fascinating account of the effects of turbulent history on one of Africa’s most storied kingdoms, Kongo: Power and Majesty presents over 170 works of art from the Kingdom of Kongo (an area that includes present-day Republic of Congo, Democratic Republic of Congo, and Angola). The book covers 400 years of Kongolese culture, from the fifteenth century, when Portuguese, Dutch, and Italian merchants and missionaries brought Christianity to the region, to the nineteenth, when engagement with Europe had turned to colonial incursion and the kingdom dissolved under the pressures of displacement, civil war, and the devastation of the slave trade. The works of art—which range from depictions of European iconography rendered in powerful, indigenous forms to fearsome minkondi, or power figures—serve as an assertion of enduring majesty in the face of upheaval, and richly illustrate the book’s powerful thesis.

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