Property from a Private Collection
SONGYE SHIELD, DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF THE CONGO
Height: 15 ½ in (39.4 cm)
Merton D. Simpson, New York
American Private Collection, acquired from the above
Sotheby's, New York, November 15, 2002, lot 77, consigned by the above
Private Collection, acquired at the above auction
Songye shields carved with a representation of a kifwebe mask on the central boss are relatively rare. Combining sculptural quality with an impressive pictorial dimension, these shields suggest a striking sense of modernity to Western eyes. Playing on the repetition of lines and the alternation of different pigments and motifs, the rhythm and graphic dynamism of this shield is accentuated by the tight curves of the projecting kifwebe masks.