157
157

AFRICAN MINIATURE SCULPTURE FROM THE COLLECTION OF MARTIN AND ROBERTA LERNER

Kongo-Yombe Ivory Flywhisk Handle, Democratic Republic of the Congo
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157

AFRICAN MINIATURE SCULPTURE FROM THE COLLECTION OF MARTIN AND ROBERTA LERNER

Kongo-Yombe Ivory Flywhisk Handle, Democratic Republic of the Congo
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Details & Cataloguing

African, Oceanic and Pre-Columbian Art including Property from the Lerner, Shoher and Vogel Collections

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New York

Kongo-Yombe Ivory Flywhisk Handle, Democratic Republic of the Congo

the handle carved from Hippopotamus (Hippopotamus amphibious) tooth.


Height of the ivory figure: 3 3/4 in (9.5 cm)
Height overall: 6 3/4 in (17.1 cm)
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Provenance

Private European Collection
Rey Kerr, New York, acquired from the above
Martin Lerner, New York, acquired from the above in May 1999

Catalogue Note

The seated figure forming the handle of this flywhisk is shown wearing a European-style collared tunic, belt, and close-fitting cap, an attire adopted by Kongo leaders to signify power and prestige.  Bassani (1988: 216) states: "Full costumes in a style fashionable in Europe in the 16th century continued to be portrayed in Kongo ivories long after the Portuguese had ceased to be a presence, and these styles were no longer worn in Europe. [...] Items of European clothing were probably gifts to African rulers, who no doubt preserved them as exotic curiosities."

The lead-inlaid wood shaft below is decorated with geometric patterns seen frequently in Kongo and Kuba textiles, relief decoration, and body scarification.  For a photograph of such scarification see Neyt (2010: 312).

For a very closely related figure possibly by the same artist from the collection of René and Anne Vanderstraete, see Felix (2010: 140-141, fig. 170).

African, Oceanic and Pre-Columbian Art including Property from the Lerner, Shoher and Vogel Collections

|
New York