back bounded-next cafe calendar-large calendar cart close coat-check collapse donate download elevators expand explore filter grid-view hamburger heart hours join link list-view location mail more next nursing-room phone print programs ramp restrooms right-arrow search share shop thumbs-down thumbs-up tickets up toilet heart-filled zoom Skip to Content


African Art

Search and Share Tools


Artwork Details


Kongo Artist, Democratic Republic of the Congo


twentieth century



Accession #



25 3/4 x 2 x 2 1/2 inches


On View - Stent Family Wing, Skyway, Gallery 401


This ivory sculpture comes from the region of central Africa, where the Kingdom of the Kongo was founded ca. 1400. In 1483 Portuguese explorers arrived, bringing their religion with them. In 1491 the Kongo king Nzinga aNkuwa converted to Christianity and was baptized as João I; his son and heir Afonso Mvemba a Nzinga later established Christianity as the state religion. Kongo artists began to work with the established iconography and artistic forms of the new faith. In this ivory Madonna sculpture, a rosary dangles from her elbow as a snake encircles her skirt. In the Kongo region of central Africa, religious works mingle Christian iconography with pre Christian indigenous religious beliefs.


Purchase through prior acquisition from Mr. and Mrs. Leslie L. Rood

Welcome back! The Museum is now open to the public.
Reserve your TIMED TICKETS now!