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Ndop Portrait of King Mishe miShyaang maMbul

Arts of Africa

Ndop figures are idealized portraits of individual Kuba rulers. This ndop, considered the oldest in existence, displays the king’s symbol, a drum with a severed hand. 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 his left hand (held with handle out, indicating the nonaggressive pose of the nyim) and the belts, arm bands, bracelets, shoulder ornaments, and special projecting headdress are all elements of royal regalia. Ndop figures were believed to represent and honor the spirit of the nyim and serve as a point of contact with his spirit.
MEDIUM Wood (crossopteryx febrifuga), camwood powder
DATES ca. 1760-1780
DIMENSIONS 19 1/2 x 7 5/8 x 8 5/8 in. (49.5 x 19.4 x 21.9 cm)  (show scale)
COLLECTIONS Arts of Africa
MUSEUM LOCATION This item is not on view
CREDIT LINE 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
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CAPTION Kuba (Bushoong subgroup). Ndop Portrait of King Mishe miShyaang maMbul, ca. 1760-1780. Wood (crossopteryx febrifuga), camwood powder, 19 1/2 x 7 5/8 x 8 5/8 in. (49.5 x 19.4 x 21.9 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_front_PS2.jpg)
IMAGE front, 61.33_front_PS2.jpg. Brooklyn Museum photograph, 2007
"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 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.
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