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    Abstract

    A PORTRAIT-STATUE FROM THE CONGO.—In Man for December, Mr. T. A. Joyce figures and describes an example of the royal portrait-statues of the Bushongo. Four of these statues were brought back from the Congo by Mr. Torday in 1909, of which three are now in the British Museum and one in the Musáe du Congo Beige, Tervueren. This present example, the fifth known, which has recently been acquired by the Musáe du Congo Beige, represents Mikope Mbula, noth paramount chief of the Bushongo. Native report states that these statues of chiefs were carved only when an artist of sufficient calibre was discovered. The statue of Mikope Mbula conforms to the traditional pattern. It is of hard reddish wood and is some 62.8 cm. in height. The chief sits in the conventional cross-legged pose, his left hand holding a knife, his right on his knee. His ornaments and dress—a belt ornamented with cowries and a belt supporting a sitting cloth and armlets—are indicated by carving. An engraved brass ˜ring is around his neck. The five statues are evidently the work of three different artists, of whom the sculptor of the present figure is inferior in expression of character, although in two points at least he is more correct—the proportion of the lower limbs and the details of the hands. The distinguishing emblem of this chief is a human figure sculptured on the plinth in front of him which may represent his slavewife and refer to the fact that in his reign, marriage with a slave—previously forbidden-became a legalised practice.

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