Kongo Artist, Democratic Republic of the Congo
Mid seventeenth–mid eighteenth century
7 3/4 x 4 3/4 inches
Gift in memory of Lew C. Deadmore
On View - Wieland Pavilion, Lower Level, Gallery 102, African Collection
At the end of the fifteenth century, Christianity was introduced to the Kingdom of the Kongo, along the coast of central Africa. This influenced religious and artistic practices. Kongo artists created crosses and other objects of worship, combining their Kongolese and Christian iconography. Here, Christ’s face is given African features. Crosses were not only used in Christian liturgy but also served additional diverse functions, in healing, in divination, as symbols of social status and political authority, and as hunting charms.