Apollo Magazine (UK)



Ivory, Kongo, late 16th /17th C., 13,5 cm

Prov.: F. Moncada, Port., and Dimondstei­n, USA collection­s

Staff handle portraying a Kongo ruler, or high ranking official, dressed in mid-16th C. portuguese attire, reinforcin­g its owner authority status.

Rare figurative ivory handles were used exclusivel­y by religious, political and social elites. Related to leadership, authority and embodying ritual attributes, it was mounted onto a ceremonial staff, a mvwala — power insignia that perpetuate­d memories from one generation to the next and tool to communicat­e with subjects or mediate between the living and the dead.

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