< Back to collection


Ndop Portrait of King Mishe miShyaang maMbul

Ndop figures are idealized portraits of individual Kuba rulers, or nyim. This ndop represents the eighteenth-century nyim known as Mishe miShyaang maMbul, whose identifying symbol, a drum with a severed hand, is prominently displayed. As in other ndop figures, the ruler sits cross-legged on a raised platform. His face expresses both aloofness and composure. The short sword in the left hand and the belts, armbands, bracelets, shoulder ornaments, and projecting royal headdress are all elements of royal regalia. Ndop figures are believed to represent and honor the spirit of the nyim and serve as a point of contact with his spirit.

Catalogue Description:
The figure sits cross-legged on a rectangular platform which is decorated with geometric chain-like bands. His right hand rests on his knee, the left hand holds a ritual knife. The head is large, with finely carved features and a curved hairline. His eyes are closed. The headdress consists of a decorated board atop a cylindrical ring. He wears a belt incised with shell motifs, armbands, bracelets, a rounded shoulder strap, and a belt with richly decorated back apron. In front of him is a cylindrical drum set on a small perforated pedestal. The drum is decorated with a hand and intertwined geometric motifs. Condition: very good. Dark, mellow patina throughout. There is a fine crack down the p. left torso, a larger one at p. left through foot and base. A recessed rectangular patch at p. left jawline. Minor checks at lower back and right pedestal. Some chips at left base, insect holes in base.


Brooklyn Museum Logo