- Museum number
Head-rest supported by a pair of human figures with arms around each other, possibly wrestling, seated on a rectangular base, the whole being carved from wood; both figures wear circles of glass beads.
- Production date
- 1907 (or before)
Height: 20 centimetres
Width: 16.50 centimetres
Depth: 7.50 centimetres
- Curator's comments
Text from William Fagg, ‘The Tribal Image’, BMP, 1977, no.43:
Here is the work of a master carver, this time of the Shankadi subtribe of the Baluba, a famous though anonymous artist from whose hand about fifteen or more pieces are known . Like the Master of Buli he was flourishing during the early years of this century. His works are always interesting for their ingenious solutions of self-imposed mathematical problems. He is known as the Master of the Cascade Coiffures (which are peculiar to the Shankadi subtribe). In the British Museum collection there is a second piece by him. [See Af1913,0520.2]
Headrests with figurative supports are used by Mbala chiefs. This restriction has been understood by some scholars to symbolize his power, both as the man whose authority weighs down on his people and on whose shoulders the weight of responsibility for his peoples' welfare rests.
- On display (G25/dc12)
- Exhibition history
1995-96, London, Museum of Mankind, Made in Africa: Africa and the National Art Collection Fund
2003/4 Oct-Jan, London, Hayward Gallery, 'Saved!100 Years of the National Art Collections Fund', no.68
- Acquisition date
- Acquisition notes
- This example was documented and collected in 1907 by Emil Torday (1875-1931), the Hungarian scholar who travelled in the Congo basin in the early twentieth century. His observations, notes, photographs, collection and understanding of indigenous peoples passed on to the British Museum provided invaluable insights into Congo cultures at this time.
- Africa, Oceania and the Americas
- Registration number