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Grave Marker (Tumba)

Arts of Africa

On View: African Storage Annex, East Gallery, 1st Floor
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.
MEDIUM Steatite, pigment
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 Storage Annex, East Gallery, 1st Floor
ACCESSION NUMBER 22.1203
CREDIT LINE Museum Expedition 1922, Robert B. Woodward Memorial Fund
RIGHTS STATEMENT Creative Commons-BY
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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
IMAGE overall, 22.1203_glass_bw.jpg. Brooklyn Museum photograph
"CUR" at the beginning of an image file name means that the image was created by a curatorial staff member. These study images may be digital point-and-shoot photographs, when we don\'t yet have high-quality studio photography, or they may be scans of older negatives, slides, or photographic prints, providing historical documentation of the object.
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%)
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