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Early – Mid 20th Century
Stylized sculpture of headrest decorated with metal form of figure dark brown patina
US East Coast - Estimated $18.00
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Documentation of Authenticity / Any Available Provenance Will Be Included With This Piece
CONDITION Wood deterioration, chips and scrapes, worn areas, age cracks, overall condition good. Thank you and please view my other items.
BACKGROUND The Bongo were at one time a large culture living in the south of the Sudan, and are most-likely part of a very ancient Nilotic lineage. However, over time, due to migration to find food and firewood, along with the slave trade, their numbers were reduced.
By the middle of the 20th century their population was estimated at less that 200,000, spread over a wide area, and into parts of the northern Congo and western Tanzania. In fact, they virtually no longer exist as a distinct group, with almost total assimilation into neighboring homelands.
The Bongo honored heroic warriors or hunters with sculpted grave markers known as "Ngya," placed over burials ceremonially a year after death, to insure that they were welcomed into the village of the ancestors.
Knowledge of the Bongo is based almost entirely on these spectacular, ornate, and haunting grave posts. They produce small figures as well, probably for apotropaic and ancestral purposes, but these are stylistically vague, and resemble similar figures from northwestern Tanzania, making them very difficult to identify.
Painter Fred Uhlman words - Most of the artists I admired, Picasso, Modigliani, Deraini, to mention only a few, had collected African art and had been profoundly
influenced by it. Shortly afterwards I bought the Baule Fetish and the Baule bobbin which are still two of the finest pieces in my collection. It is easy to see
why I bought them and why from that moment I have never stopped collecting. The head of the bobbin or heddle - pulley which is after all only a functional
object for the purpose of weaving seemed to me then and today as beautiful as a Greek goddess. The fetish moved me as deeply as the bobbin by its silent
tragic dignity and its air of profound meditation.
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Gothamgallery Fine African Art - Sudan Bongo Figural Headrest: $284