Ndop figure depicting Nyim Mbó Mbóosh (r. ca. 1650), Nyim Mishé miShyááng máMbúl (r. ca. 1710), or Nyim Kot áNée (r. ca. 1740)
Arts of Africa
Kuba sculptors created ndop to represent the concept of leadership and contain the ruler’s life essence. Like sculptures created in pharaonic Egypt millennia earlier, ndop (literally, “statue,” a commissioned royal portrait) indicate status with royal regalia and standardized poses. Seated on a platform-throne, this figure wears or holds royal garments, including a long-brimmed headdress; knife; and a cowrie belt and armbands. Cowrie shells symbolize Wóót, the Kuba kingdom’s mythical founder. Each ndop bears the same calm expression, emphasizing the value Kuba society places on composure. This sculpture is linked to three nyim (kings): Mbó Mbóosh, Mishé miShyááng máMbúl, and Kot áNée—a reflection of how highly the Kuba prized uniformity in ndop.
Wood (Crossopteryx febrifuga), tukula, fiber
19 1/2 × 8 × 10 in. (49.5 × 20.3 × 25.4 cm) (show scale)
Purchased with funds given by Mr. and Mrs. Alastair B. Martin, Mrs. Donald M. Oenslager, Mr. and Mrs. Robert E. Blum, and the Mrs. Florence A. Blum Fund
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.
This item is not on view
Kuba (Bushoong subgroup) artist. Ndop figure depicting Nyim Mbó Mbóosh (r. ca. 1650), Nyim Mishé miShyááng máMbúl (r. ca. 1710), or Nyim Kot áNée (r. ca. 1740), ca. 1760-1780. Wood (Crossopteryx febrifuga), tukula, fiber, 19 1/2 × 8 × 10 in. (49.5 × 20.3 × 25.4 cm). Brooklyn Museum, Purchased with funds given by Mr. and Mrs. Alastair B. Martin, Mrs. Donald M. Oenslager, Mr. and Mrs. Robert E. Blum, and the Mrs. Florence A. Blum Fund, 61.33. Creative Commons-BY (Photo: Brooklyn Museum, 61.33_PS2.jpg)
overall, 61.33_PS2.jpg. Brooklyn Museum photograph, 2007
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