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 Museum Explorer

Leaders and rulers
in Africa

King Shyaam aMbul aNgoong

Height: 54.500 cm

AOA 1909.12-10.1

King Shyaam-a-Mbul Ngwoong

From: the Democratic Republic of Congo
Date: late 18th century AD

Wooden carvings were sometimes made of Kuba kings after they had died. These wooden sculptures were not meant to look exactly like the king, but to show the king's spirit as a carving.

You can tell who each ruler is by a small object at the base of the sculpture. This is King Shyaam aMbul aNgoong, the founding father of the Kuba kingdom. He is shown with a mancala board, the game that he is said to have brought to his country. In his left hand the king holds a peace knife.