Death and Display

Kuba funerary art from the Congo River Basin

Raymond Corbey | 2024

Death and Display

Kuba funerary art from the Congo River Basin

Raymond Corbey | 2024


Paperback ISBN: 9789464262124 | Hardback ISBN: 9789464262131 | Imprint: Sidestone Press | Format: 210x280mm | 214 pp. | Language: English | 40 illus. (bw) | 170 illus. (fc) | Keywords: Kuba people; Democratic Republic of Congo; African art; funerary customs; cultural heritage; Bantu cosmology; anthropology; ethnography; gift giving | download cover | DOI: 10.59641/tjq382kl

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During funerals of nobles in the Kuba kingdom (Democratic Republic of Congo), visitors used to theatrically offer so-called bongotols to the deceased and the mourning family. These highly appreciated valuables were either positioned under the corpse to support it or displayed on top of it.

In addition to their religious meaning they displayed the status and wealth of both givers and takers. Visitors would receive similar items in return. Afterwards the bongotols were stashed until, on occasion of a next burial, they would continue their cycles of gift and counter gift among the titled Kuba aristocracy.

Death and display brings ethnographic research and archival sources to bear on these intriguing heirlooms. Their rich iconography offers a kaleidoscope of traditional Kuba sociality, cosmology and ritual.

1. Introduction
2. The liana pattern
3. The woot motif
4. More designs
5. Miniature ritual items
6. Miniature weapons
7. Miniature pendants
8. Anthropomorphic forms
9. Zoomorphic forms
10. Varia

Appendix
References
Acknowledgements

Prof. Dr. Raymond Corbey

Raymond Corbey is an anthropologist at the Faculty of Archaeology of Leiden University, the Netherlands. His recent research focuses on the ritual art and the cosmologies of various peoples of New Guinea, Insular Southeast Asia and Central Africa.

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Abstract:

During funerals of nobles in the Kuba kingdom (Democratic Republic of Congo), visitors used to theatrically offer so-called bongotols to the deceased and the mourning family. These highly appreciated valuables were either positioned under the corpse to support it or displayed on top of it.

In addition to their religious meaning they displayed the status and wealth of both givers and takers. Visitors would receive similar items in return. Afterwards the bongotols were stashed until, on occasion of a next burial, they would continue their cycles of gift and counter gift among the titled Kuba aristocracy.

Death and display brings ethnographic research and archival sources to bear on these intriguing heirlooms. Their rich iconography offers a kaleidoscope of traditional Kuba sociality, cosmology and ritual.

Contents

1. Introduction
2. The liana pattern
3. The woot motif
4. More designs
5. Miniature ritual items
6. Miniature weapons
7. Miniature pendants
8. Anthropomorphic forms
9. Zoomorphic forms
10. Varia

Appendix
References
Acknowledgements

Prof. Dr. Raymond Corbey

Raymond Corbey is an anthropologist at the Faculty of Archaeology of Leiden University, the Netherlands. His recent research focuses on the ritual art and the cosmologies of various peoples of New Guinea, Insular Southeast Asia and Central Africa.

read more










We will plant a tree for each order containing a paperback or hardback book via OneTreePlanted.org.


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