Nsapo-Beneki, Songye Region, Democratic Republic of the Congo
Fred and Rita Richman Collection
On View - Wieland Pavilion, Lower Level, Gallery 102, African Collection
This neck rest, once used to support the head while resting or sleeping, was carved by an artist known to African art collectors as the Master of Beneki. Much of his work shares signature stylistic features, especially extravagantly large feet. In Songye art as well as in the art of the neighboring Luba, Kuba, and Shilele, prominent feet symbolize power. The motif refers to the confiscation of territory in warfare. This neck rest is supported by two back-to-back figures, both with huge feet.