Bell (dibu)
Kongo peoples, Democratic Republic of the Congo
Late 19th-early 20th century
H. 21.8 cm (8 9/16 in.)
Wood, stone
National Museum of African Art, gift of Lawrence Gussman in memory of Dr. Albert Schweitzer,

Among the Kongo and Bembe peoples, ritual specialists, called nganga, prepared containers (nkisi, plural minkisi) often in the form of figures that were used to cure and protect or as part of judicial procedures. Empowering substances or "medicines" were placed in the mirror-covered boxes attached to these figures. Carved bells were part of the public invocations of spiritual forces by the nganga.

This exhibition has been organized through the collaborative efforts of The Israel Museum, Jerusalem; the National Museum of African Art, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, DC; and the Neuberger Museum of Art Purchase College, State University of New York, and supported, in part, from a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts, a Federal Agency.

Site design, audio and video production - Michael Briggs
Exhibition curator - Bryna Freyer
Chief designer - Alan Knezevich
Editorial - Migs Grove
Rights and Reproductions - Liesl Dana
Conservation - Dana Moffett
Education contributors- Peter Pipim
Photography - Franko Khoury
Site Production Assistant - Jeremy Jelenfy
Graphic Design - Lisa Buck Vann
Exhibits - Keith Conway A Personal Journey: Central African Art from the Lawrence Gussman CollectionImage: A Personal Journey Book Cover

ISBN 0-93403216-5
$35 plus S/H

166 pages
Fully illustrated in color

Available in the Museum Store at the National Museum of African Art
(202) 786-2147

A comprehensive catalogue featuring the 75 works on exhibit complements the exhibition. The publication allows us to share Lawrence Gussman's personal journey of cultural discovery and experience the riches of central African artistry.

Reliquary Guardian Figures | Masks of Gabon and the Congo | Status and Power | Divination and Spiritual Power | Figurative Sculpture | Beneath the Surface

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