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Ethnic Mirror

GH001b.jpg Code: GH001
Title: Ethnic Mirror
Material: Teak Wood and Wrought Iron
Greatest Dimension: 122cms (47.58 inches)
Current Location: Harare

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During the 13th century, the Kongo people were led by their king, Ne Kongo, to a vast area across three frontiers, where they settled. Their kingdom expanded rapidly and, by the end of the 16th century, it engulfed the Atlantic Coast of present day Gabon, the Republic of Congo, the Democratic Republic of Congo (formerly Zaire) and Angola. In 1482, Portuguese sailors arrived at the royal court in Mbanza Congo and eventually converted the Kongo king to Christianity in 1491. By the end of the 16th century, the kingdom was weakened and its demise came with the death of the last Kongo king, Dom Antonio 11, in 1957. Originally the Kongo kingdom comprised a number of separate tribes – the Vili, the Yombe, the Beembe, the Bwende and the Woyo, among others – which were led by a king, the Ntotela, who was elected by a council of governors. The Ntotela controlled the nominations for official positions at court and in the provinces. The main economic resources of the empire were ivory, copper and slave trade. Congo masks were worn during initiation ceremonies and the funerals of important personalities, but also appeared to have judiciary power.

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