Crucifix

Crucifix

late 1800s-early 1900s

Copper alloy, wood, upholstery studs, and iron alloy

Overall: 44.7 x 22.2 x 3.2 cm (17 5/8 x 8 3/4 x 1 1/4 in.)

René and Odette Delenne Collection, Leonard C. Hanna, Jr. Fund 2010.444

Did you know?

This x-shapes of the cross and on Christ's wrapper are forms with symbolic meaning tied to the life cycle in both Catholicism and in the indigenous Kongo religion.

Description

An artist made this crucifix from wood and metal centuries after Catholicism became the Kongo Kingdom’s official faith. Following King Nzinga a Nkuwu's 1491 decision to convert, Kongo Christianity uniquely reflected its surroundings. While early Christ images arrived from Portugal and Italy, this later local example has braids like a Kongo man. Worn smooth by repeated touch, the lower figure is the Virgin Mary or a worshiper knelt in mourning or respect. The x-shape incised into his waist wrapper references the dikenga dia Kongo. This likely pre-Christian symbol diagrams the life cycle's four points.

See also

Contact us

The information about this object, including provenance information, is based on historic information and may not be currently accurate or complete. Research on objects is an ongoing process, but the information about this object may not reflect the most current information available to CMA. If you notice a mistake or have additional information about this object, please email collectionsdata@clevelandart.org.

To request more information about this object, study images, or bibliography, contact the Ingalls Library Reference Desk.

Is something not working on this page? Please email help.website@clevelandart.org.

Request a digital file from Image Services that is not available through CC0, a detail image, or any image with a color bar. If you have questions about requesting an image, please email imageservices@clevelandart.org.