Grave Marker (Tumba)
The Kongo place stone figures called tumba on the graves of powerful people. This chief is shown smoking a pipe with his head averted as if in a state of contemplation. His cap (mpu) with four leopard’s teeth, the beaded necklace, and the bracelet (nlunga) identify the individual as a chief. The term tumba comes from the old Portuguese word for “tomb”—this genre may have been inspired by grave monuments for European merchants and missionaries in Kongo cemeteries.
- Culture: Kongo (Boma subgroup)
- Medium: Steatite, pigment
- Place Made: Kongo Central Province, Democratic Republic of the Congo
- Dates: 19th century
- Dimensions: 23 x 6 x 6 in. (58.4 x 15.2 x 15.2 cm) (show scale)
- Collections:Arts of Africa
- Museum Location: This item is on view in African Installation Vault
- Accession Number: 22.1203
- Credit Line: Museum Expedition 1922, Robert B. Woodward Memorial Fund
- Rights Statement: Creative Commons-BY
- Caption: Kongo (Boma subgroup). Grave Marker (Tumba), 19th century. Steatite, pigment, 23 x 6 x 6 in. (58.4 x 15.2 x 15.2 cm). Brooklyn Museum, Museum Expedition 1922, Robert B. Woodward Memorial Fund, 22.1203. Creative Commons-BY
- Catalogue Description: Male figure sitting cross-legged on rectangular base. Right hand rests on left knee; left hand holds short thick pipe to mouth. Head turns to left. Eyes black in color. Wears cap with leopard teeth, beaded bracelets, and a necklace. Condition is good.
- Record Completeness: Best (91%)