|EARTH METROPOLIS AFRICAN ART|
|ClaudeClark.com | Educ. | African | Search | African Studies | Kuba | Kuba Ndop Images | Kuba Mbo Images | Yoruba |Akan Art ||
|Kuba Kings | Nyimi Kot Mabiinc | Nyimi Mbop Mabiinc maMbeky | Nyimi Kok Mbweeky III | Prince Kwete | | | ||
Kot aPe [Kwete Peshanga Kena],(1902 - 1916)
Nyim Kot aPe was the famous king who sold all the Kuba artwork to the Hungarians.
Kuba oral histories recall the migration of their eighteen constituent ethnic groups to the western Kasai region of what is now central Democratic Republic of the Congo by 1568. There they were united within a paramount chieftaincy during the seventeenth century and a new political dynasty came to be embodied by the larger-than-life hero Shyáám áMbúl áNgoong (r. ca. 1630).
Following his installation, a new Kuba leader, or nyim, announced his choice of a praise name, geometric pattern, and signature emblem (ibol), which became identifying symbols of his reign. He subsequently commissioned the official ndop sculpture that would serve as a surrogate for his person. During a nyim's lifetime, his ndop served as his spirit double; following death it was the site for his life force. Paradoxically this genre was designed to make manifest the essence of an individual while deliberately obfuscating physiognomic differences through adherence to an established visual lexicon. Consequently each leader's ndop is a variation on a highly unified visual theme not unlike the rich exploitation of pure abstract pattern that is a signature of Kuba aesthetics.
Information taken from -
Heroic Africans: Legendary Leaders, Iconic Sculptures
September 21, 2011–January 29, 2012
The Golden Age of Shyáám and Beyond: The Kuba
When they look at this statue they will be able to remember me and think I am looking at them, consoling them when they are sad, giving them inspiration and new courage
—Attributed to Shyáám áMbúl áNgoong, as told by Kwete Peshanga Kena [Kot áPe] to Emil Torday, 1908
At The Metropolitan Musem of Art
Kot Mabiinc (ruled 1919-1939), the
Casimir Zagourski (1883-1944) L'Afrique qui disparaît! Series 1, no. 7 c. 1929-1937, silver gelatin print on postcard stock Eliot Elisofon Photographic Archives National Museum of African Art Smithsonian Institution 1987-241007
This page contains the pictures of four Kuba kings and one prince. Photographer Casimir Zagourski came through Kuba Land during the 1930s and produced this silver gelatin print on postcard stock depicting the paralyzed king Nyim Nyim Kot Mabiinc.
Kuba, also called Bakuba, a cluster of about 16 Bantu-speaking groups in southeastern Congo (Kinshasa), living between the Kasai and Sankuru rivers east of their confluence.
Kuba cultivate corn (maize), cassava, millet, peanuts (groundnuts), and beans as staples. They grow raffia and oil palms, raise corn as a cash crop, and hunt and fish. They have kept aloof from modern life, and few have emigrated or engage in European-style occupations. The groups are divided into lineages related through matrilineal descent; the lineages are segments of numerous dispersed clans. The Kuba are united in a kingdom, ruled by the central Bushongo group, which emerged about 1600. The kingdom is a federation of chiefdoms, each ruled by a chief and two or three councils that represent the general population and noble clans. The ruling Bushongo chief is king by divine right. Uniting factors include bonds of common culture and group feeling, a royal army, and a common administration.
from Encyclopaedia Britannica
Kuba King Photogaphed in 1947 by Eliot Elisofon
|Mbo (Ndop) Mabiinc maMbeky | Wearing Ndop Attire | A Second Photo | Nyimi Kok Mbweeky III | Nyimi Kot Mabiinc | Top | ||
Democratic Republic of Congo (formerly Belgian Congo) King Mbop Mabiinc maMbeky (ruled 1939-1969), king of the Kuba, Nsheng.Eliot Elisofon Photographic Archives National Museum of African Art, Smithsonian Institution presents -
"Dr. William Henry Sheppard (1865-1927), an African American missionary for the American Presbyterian Congo Mission, who later became an outspoken critic of King Léopold's regime, was the first overseas visitor to reach the kingdom's capital in 1890. The Kuba, famous for their arts, subsequently attracted many visitors, ranging from anthropologists to photographers, who sought to depict the legendary kings, the visual splendor of the royal court and important chiefs, among them Chief Ndombe of Bieeng. Casimir Zagourski, who traveled through the royal capital in the 1930s, took a classic, often-published portrait of then ruler Kot Mabiinc (ruled 1919-1939), who was paralyzed. Eliot Elisofon (1911-1973), an American photographer who worked for Life magazine, followed in Zagourski's footsteps in 1947, creating evocative portraits of Kot Mabiinc's successor, Mbop Mabiinc maMbeky (ruled 1939-1969). Photographic encounters in the capital became commonplace and orchestrated--grand performances for the cameras of the Westerners. Kuba kings used the opportunity to further the reputation of the Kuba as the foremost artists in central Africa."
This quote was taken from a page in Flickr and no credits were given.
Kuba King Photogaphed in 1947 by Eliot Elisofon
The Kuba (also named the Bushoong for the most influential chiefdom in the Kuba confederacy) founded a powerful state, located in the south-central part of the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Dr. William Henry Sheppard (1865-1927), an African American missionary for the American Presbyterian Congo Mission, who later became an outspoken critic of King Léopold's regime, was the first overseas visitor to reach the kingdom's capital in 1890. The Kuba, famous for their arts, subsequently attracted many visitors, ranging from anthropologists to photographers, who sought to depict the legendary kings, the visual splendor of the royal court and important chiefs, among them Chief Ndombe of Bieeng. Casimir Zagourski, who traveled through the royal capital in the 1930s, took a classic, often-published portrait of then ruler Kot Mabiinc (ruled 1919-1939), who was paralyzed. Eliot Elisofon (1911-1973), an American photographer who worked for Life magazine, followed in Zagourski's footsteps in 1947, creating evocative portraits of Kot Mabiinc's successor, Mbop Mabiinc maMbeky (ruled 1939-1969). Photographic encounters in the capital became commonplace and orchestrated--grand performances for the cameras of the Westerners. Kuba kings used the opportunity to further the reputation of the Kuba as the foremost artists in central Africa.
© http://www.nmafa.si.edu/exhibits/focus/kuba.html - This may be the origin of the quote.
Ndop figure of King Bope Mabinshe
This statue is a portrait of the Kuba Nyim shown in a photograph directly above and below the statue. This image is unprecedented by any other Traditional African Art portraits done on the African continent. You will find out why in the paragraphs below.
Wood, nice patina, residues of red powder, showing King Bope Mabinshe (ruled 1939-1969), holding a ceremonial knife in his left hand, head crest and shoulder rings as signs of royal dignity. Each ndop depicts a particular king who is identified by a particular object associated to his reign. The king is always portrayed in the prime of life with no physical imperfections, since it was believed that the king's health and well-being reflected the state of the nation. During the king’s life his ndop served as his double. The statues were kept in the living quarters of the royal wives who took care of the ndop as if it were the king himself. They provided fertility and substituted the king during times of absence. When a royal woman was about to give birth the statue was placed next to her to ensure the save delivery of the baby. When a king died, his "ndop" figure was brought to his deathbed in order to transfer his vital force on the statue.
Ndop figure of King Bope Mabinshe (ruled 1939-1969) / Kuba, D.R. Congo - For Sale
Slightly damaged, fissures, slight traces of abrasion. H: 60,5 cm (24 inch).
FOR OBJECTS SENT TO EUROPEAN UNION COUNTRIES PLEASE ADD SALES TAX (23%). At Antiques.com
Text and image were posted at Antiques.com
This may be the earliest traditional classical African style art portrait of any African ruler known to be done during a period when both a photograph and a wooden image were done by artists that may have known the ruler during his or her lifetime. Most Mbo or Ndop images are replacements for carvings that decade centuries ago. Most Mbo statues were done by woodcarvers that never saw their subjects.
The bronze portraits of Oba-s in Edo City (Benin City) had gone into decline by the early 1800’s. Though they did not show Western influence until the 20th Century, they can not be considered Classical style Edo art. Most of the early Western style portraits of Edo Oba-s were poorly done pencil sketches, rather than photographs.
Today’s Kuba carvings are kept in Western style homes in the Congo where they are protected from termites and may last much longer than the earlier carvings did, but that is still no excuse for stealing someone else’s art work. Governments and individuals that permit that kind of behavior to continue are selfish, self-centered and criminal people.
Auctions are some of the legal tactics used to steal art from Africa and other people as well. This is one way Europe and their Western allies create enough red tape so that the theft may not be solved. This may not be a case of stolen property, but any information available on an item like this should be made public information just in case.
Nyimi Mbop Mabinshe maMbeky
|Mbo (Ndop) Mabiinc maMbeky | Same Crown | Nyimi Mbop Mabiinc maMbeky | | | | | ||
This photograph was taken in 1950 by a Corbis photographer. Nyimi Mbop Mabiiinc maMbeky is dressed in the same ceremonial clothes shown in his Ndop (Mbo) statue above. The beaded board crown appears to be tilted back, but the Corbis photographer pointed the up camera from a position below the Nyimi, rather than photograph the king at eye level. Nyim maMbeky is wearing upper arm bracelets as shown in the statue. The bead bands crossing maMbeky’s chest are not as the ones shown on his Ndop statue. The large belt shown on his waist is the same type of belt shown in the statue. Both pictures show the Nyim wearing beaded bracelets on his wrists as well. In the Photograph Nyim maMbweky holds a spear in his left hand, while in the carved statue there is a knife his left hand instead of a spear. All Ndop images show some objects on top of each shoulder. Those objects are missing in the photograph.
NYIMI KOK MABIINTSH III / King of Kuba / DR Congo
|Nyimi Mbop Mabiinc maMbeky | Nyimi Kot Mabiinc | Second Photo | Prince Kwete | To the Top | | ||
French photographer Daniel Laine spent about 12 months on the African continent tracking down and photographing figures of royalty and leaders of kingdoms. 70 photographed monarchs and descendants of the great African dynasties are published in his fine book entitled "African Kings".
This extravagant royal costume, weighing almost 185 pounds, consists of a tunic embroidered with beads and cowrie shells; several heavy, beaded belts and hip ornaments; necklaces and bracelets; and an ornate headdress with an attached beaded beard. Bead-embroidered gloves and shoes cover the ruler's hands and feet. Sitting solemnly on a dais next to beaded royal drums (pelambish), the king seems transformed into a work of art. He embodies wealth, power, beauty, and the Kuba aesthetic preference for accumulation and abundant design. Each king commissions this type of costume after his enthronement and is buried in it when he dies.
The Nyimi Mabiintsh III is fifty years old. He acquired the throne at the age of twenty. As a descendant of god the creator, the king is attributed with supernatural powers.
Due to his top position he is restricted by several contraints: he does not have the right to sit on the ground, and he cannot cross a cultivated field. Apart from his cook, no one has seen him eat. Moreover he never travels without him, and his personal cooking utensils.
It took me three weeks to photograph the Nyimi( king ) of the Kuba in his royal apparel, the "bwantshy". The outfit made out of material stitched with beads and "cauris"( small shells used as money in Africa ), weighs 160 lb. It takes more than two hours to dress the King, and two days of spiritual preparation to be sufficiently purified in order to wear the outfit.
© This qoute is from African Kings by Daniel LAINÉ. Article from book titled: "Daniel Laine's Sensational Collection of African Kings was posted in Retox Magazine.com http://www.retoxmagazine.com/daniel-laine-photography-book-african-kings.html
Nyimi Kot a-Mbweeky III is wearing the same attire depicted in Ndop statues. If you look closely you can see the board extension on top of his head. Most of Kuba art is made up raffia fibers ceramic glass beads and cowries. This photograph was taken by Elisofon in early 1970.
KUBA KINGS OF CONGO KENSHASA
Introduction - https://sites.google.com/site/afropedia/kuba-kingdom
This article was taken from the Afropede@ Website on Google.
Kuba Kingdom or Bakuba/ Bushoong Kingdom was a federation of smaller polities and ethnicities. It bordered the Kasai, Lulua, and Sankuru rivers in the region of West Kasai, Democratic Republic of Congo. The kingdom is estimated to have had a population of 250,000. Kuba is the name given to the Bushoong people by the Luba, meaning "lightning", for their throwing knife.
The first nyim and founder of the Kuba Kingdom was Shyaam a-Mbul a Ngoong. Shyaam was the adopted son of a local queen. Shyaam seems to have traveled the surrounding areas and acquired knowledge of new technologies from the Kongo Kingdom, Pende, and other peoples, in the west. He acquired technologies such as iron production and new world plants such as maize and cassava.
By the 17th century, Shyaam unified the Kuba people: the Ngende, Bulang, Pyang, Pyang Ibaam, Kayuweng, Kaam, Bieng, Kel, Ngongo, Ngombe, Maluk, Mbengi, Shoowa (Shobwa), Iding, Kete, Coofa and Cwa. Other groups who were not part of the empire, but highly influence by the Kuba were Ndengese, Binji, Wongo, Mbuun, and Leele.
Kuba society is matrilineal. The Queen Mother empowers the nyim (nyimi) or king. His power is absolute. The nyim heads the Kuba Kingdom. The nyim is considered divine. He is lawmaker, warrior, and spirit medium. The government was organized around a merit system that dispensed title and authority among the aristocracy. This solidified loyalty to the kingdom.
The Kuba traded extensively with other peoples and used iron, tukula, and raffia cloth as currency. Iron was shaped into bars and further broken down for other goods. Tukula a powder was valued like gold. It was made from the camwood tree and took a lot of effort to produce a significant quantity. Raffia cloth, a major Kuba commodity, was used as exchange. The Kuba imported beads, brass tacks, and cowry shells, to be used for currency.
Being in a river wetted forest zone, the Kuba fished, hunted, and farm. They grew new world crops such as corn and cassava. With abundant produce, the Kuba experience population expansion.
Kuba art is world famous. The Kuba worked in textile, wood, and metal. They created the world famous raffia textile, kasai velvet and pile cloth. Wood carved cups and other containers were crafted, even wood sword and lance. Mastering metal smelting allowed the Kingdom to produce weapons such axes, knives, and daggers. Razors, scarification knives, and other utensils were other items produced by her locksmith.
They decorated their medium with specific motif. Motif designated rank, status, events, and functions. Kuba symbols have meaning which most scholars, have not deciphered.
Kuba society has a plethora of Mask, representing spirits. Mask can represent animals like elephant spirits, the original ancestor spirit Woot, the King, and pygmies. Initially, it is thought the Kuba never had masks but via influence through neighboring people acquired the practice of keeping mask.
List of Kuba Kings
KUBA PRINCE IN DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF CONGO
DR Congo’s Kuba Prince takes on Modernity
|Enlightened | Friends of Africa Advisory | Kuba Kingdom Project | Modernization | Arts & Culture | Filming | Top | ||
Article is taken from the Business Daily (a Nation Media Group Monday April 1, 2013 Photo/Elvis Ogina Prince Kwete of Bakuba Kingdom in DR Congo poses next to his father’s photo during the 40th Anniversary of African Heritage at the Alliance Francaise, Nairobi, last week. By MARGARETTA WA GACHERU / Posted Thursday, April 19 2012 at 19:07
Coming from a kingdom that dates back nine centuries and is nestled deep in the heart of the Central African rainforest in the Congo, Prince Guy Kwete is next in line to succeed his father, the King of Kuba, KotMbweki III.
The issue of succession is a sensitive topic in Kubaland since Kwete is his father’s third born son. But he is also the first son to study abroad, first in Paris, then in the US at the University of Southern California, and most recently in the UK where he studied International Relations at the London School of Economics.
Kwete is a thoroughly modern prince who feels at home anywhere in the world, not only because he’s been groomed from birth to be African nobility, but also because wherever he goes, members of the royal entourage accompany him, ensuring his protection as well as the preservation of the age-old Kuba culture.
Kuba culture is so strong and deep and democratically structured, says the prince, that it withstood the onslaught of the Belgians, the corrupting influence of Mobutu Sese Seko and multiple threats of conflict that have historically troubled the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), formerly known as Zaire.
Yet in spite of ravages of war, the Kuba people have continued to create their classic raffia textiles, which historically inspired modern artists like Matisse and Picasso and helped shape the 20th century modernist sensibility.
Having travelled throughout the kingdom with his father every year since he could walk, Kwete was accustomed to the rousing royal ceremonial receptions he received when he took photographers Carol Beckwith, Angela Fisher and independent filmmaker Kire Godal on a three week tour of countless villages on the far edges of Kubaland late last year.
The Kuba people are understandably protective of their culture, given their experience of foreigners from the West, especially those, like the Belgians, British, French and Americans, who walked away with the Kuba’s sacred ancestral sculptures. Each stolen hand-carved statue, known as a ndop represents one of Kuba’s more than 125 kings.
Yet Western museums take pride in showing off the elements of Kuba culture they managed to swipe from the royal coffers. The British Museum in London, for instance, has four ndops, the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York has one, and according to the prince, ndops are also on display in Paris, Brussels and even Oslo, Norway.
Balancing tradition and modernity has been one of the living legacies that Kwete’s 67-year-old father is leaving to his son -- a challenge Kwete accepts wholeheartedly. His main aim is to promote sustainable development of his kingdom through education, enlightened policies and partnerships with governments and global bodies that can help to preserve Kuba’s culture and identity.
Currently based in Brussels, Kwete is constantly in talks either with the European Union, United Nations agencies or people like Beckwith, Fisher and Godal who plan to promote Kuba culture through their photography and film.
Prince Kwete also accompanied the female trio to Kenya last week to be part of the opening of African Heritage’s 40th Anniversary celebrations, including the launch of Beckwith and Fisher’s latest book on the Dinka of Southern Sudan.
With plans to include images of Kuba culture in their forthcoming volumes of African Ceremonies (Vol. 1 and 2 already exist), Beckwith and Fisher have been intrigued by the Kuba kingdom for almost as long as they have been making photography books on indigenous African cultures, that is, since the 1970s.
It was their chance encounter with Kwete at London’s October Gallery that led to the life-transforming experience of their traveling by Land Rover across Kubaland and witnessing the incredibly elaborate costuming, customs and ceremonies of the Kingdom.
Meanwhile, Kwete has also set up his own school and charity catering for the needs of orphaned or abandone dchildren.
article taken from Magazines - © businessdailyafrica.com / Posted Thursday, April 19 2012 at 19:07 By MARGARETTA WA GACHERU
Home / About / Friends of Africa International Advisory Board / H.R.H. Prince Kwete of the Kuba Kingdom, DR Congo
Friends of Africa International Advisory Board Member
DR Congo – Prince Kwete is the son of King Kot aMbweki III, the 125th of the Kuba Kingdom, a monarchy located in the heart of the Democratic Republic of Congo within the southern boundary of the world’s second largest rainforest. Prince Kwete is also founder and chief executive officer of Central Africa Business Cooperative and the visionary behind The Kuba Kingdom Project, an initiative designed to balance sustainable modernization with conservation and cultural preservation in the DR Congo. The project is focused on creating programs and incentives to protect the resources in the dense virgin rainforest and via education, healthcare and agriculture programs, empower Bakuba people to retain their cultural heritage while becoming self-reliant and prosperous. Prince Kwete received his formal primary education in Paris, undergraduate degree in the U.S. at the University of Southern California, and masters degrees in International Relations at the U.K. at the London School of Economics.
Return to International Advisory Board
Home / Current Projects / Current Page
Crisis in the D.R. Congo
The Democratic Republic of Congo, formerly known as Zaire, has one of the world’s largest virgin rain forests, an abundance of natural resources and plentiful indigenous food sources. Former President Laurant Kabila once claimed “the country was capable of feeding the entire continent of Africa.” Yet, in 2011, the United Nations declared that the DRC stands at the bottom of two major global indices of wellbeing; it ranks last on both the Human Development Index and the Global Hunger Index. The D.R. Congo has the world’s second largest rainforest, abundant natural resources and enough fertile soil to feed the world. The World Health Organization reported that the DRC’s food situation had dropped from “alarming” to “extremely alarming.”
With lack of education and means to harvest their indigenous food sources, the people of the D.R. Congo have turned to unsustainable methods of farming for sustenance. As a result, the rain forests are under threat. The practices of clear cutting and controlled burning to make way for unsustainable agriculture are destroying millions of hectares of virgin rainforest every year, releasing billions of tons of carbon emissions into the world’s atmosphere, which scientists believe is exacerbating climate change.
We endeavor to change that.
The Kuba Kingdom Project is a collaborative, grass-roots initiative that combines innovative business enterprise and nonprofit humanitarian efforts with a multi-dimensional approach to sustainable economic growth. Its programs are designed to empower Bakuba people to be self-reliant via unique partnerships between communities, entrepreneurs, business investors and nonprofit organizations. Key components of The Kuba Kingdom Project include education, conservation, cultural preservation, enterprise and collaboration. Each component employs sustainability, social equity and self-reliance as guiding principles, which ultimately endeavors to inspire stewardship over natural resources and provide economic prosperity that fosters healthy communities, peaceful coexistence and vastly improved quality of life. The DRC has potential to become the model for sustainable economic growth in Africa, but it is still recovering from civil war conflicts that have plagued its perimeters for more than twenty years.
While the Kuba Kingdom itself has remained relatively remote from the conflict zones, Bakuba people have been faced with worsening economic consequences of war and a growing population due to the influx of refugees. Once considered the “breadbasket of the Congo,” the Kuba Kingdom,located at the southern most perimeter of the equatorial rainforest, has an abundance of untapped natural resources and mineral-rich soils ideal for agriculture. As these resources become more scarce globally, prospectors from developed nations are converging on the region to exploit its untapped resources. Without strategic sustainability actions taken now, the D.R. Congo faces unfettered exploitation that could lead to accelerated destruction of the virgin rainforest with consequential devastation of its ecosystems and human populations depending upon its survival.
Mitigating Crisis with Opportunity
In 2011, Bakuba Prince, Guy Kwete, son of Kot aMbweki III, the 125th King of Kuba, hosted a photographic excursion to document ancient Kuba traditions with National Geographic filmmaker Kire Godal and photographers, Carol Beckwith and Angela Fisher, authors of the world-renowned African Ceremonies books, During the excursion, they observed heightened humanitarian and environmental challenges, which prompted later studies with scientists, strategists and field experts. In response to their findings, Prince Kwete and Godal formed the Central Africa Business Cooperative (CAB) and created the Kuba Kingdom Project, a multi-phase plan to abate existing crises by creating opportunity for sustainable modernization. Under the auspices of CAB, and in partnership with Friends of Africa International, Prince Kwete has opened the Kuba Kingdom for sustainable enterprise. They are currently seeking investment capital and charitable donations to fund humanitarian relief, education programs, business opportunities and sustainable infrastructure that will protect the rain forests, foster economic growth and empower Bakuba people to become both self-reliant and prosperous.
In the West, very little is known about the Kuba Kingdom, however its whimsical sculptures and textiles featuring distinctive geometric patterns are famous throughout the world. Modern Cubism, which derived its name from the word, “Kuba,” was highly influenced by Kuba arts, eluded to in works by Cubist master artists including Picasso and Matisse. Due to their rarity in the West, Royal Kuba textiles and artifacts are highly sought by western collectors and occupy permanent exhibition halls in prominent art museums in New York, London, Brussels and Paris.
Traditionally, characteristics of Royal Kuba Cloth patterns woven with raffia, delicate embroidery, beads and appliqued fabrics were thought to be identifiable with ancestors, so some families accumulate the rare cloths that have been passed down for generations. The family textiles are also used in formal, traditional ceremonies, as are heirloom masks and beaded adornments.
While much of D.R. Congo culture was influenced by Belgian colonialists, the culture and tradition of the Kuba Kingdom has remained relatively un-affected and the monarchy intact. Despite the economic hardships in the D.R. Congo, traditional Bakuba customs remain embedded in today’s culture. Due to the prolonged conflict throughout the Congo, few outsiders have ever witnessed the rich cultural heritage of the Kuba Kingdom.
A Call to Action
Funding is urgently needed to create grass roots opportunity for sustainable agriculture, health care and education. Friends of Africa International is currently accepting donations that will provide immediate solutions to create programs about sustainable agriculture to eradicate hunger, prevent deforestation, empower self-reliance, and foster stewardship of the virgin rainforest and its resources. Phase One of the Kuba Kingdom Project includes sustainable fisheries, a radio education network, health clinics and workshops, scientific studies on the rainforest and deforestation and community conservation programs.
Kwete's Involment in Film Production of Kuba Culture
Kire Godal Filmmaker -