late 1800s-early 1900s
Brass, iron alloy, wood
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
Catholicism came to the Congo in the late fifteenth century and has thrived as a dominant religion there since.
One of two Christian-inspired objects in the Delenne collection identifying the far-reaching networks of trade, diplomacy, religion, and cross-cultural exchange. This Kongo crucifix is aligned with symmetry and stylization, unlike dynamic poses and empowered gestures constructed in most human or animal bodies created by the hands of African artists. The emaciated body, at the brink of death, captures the connection between death and regeneration, a concept central to both Christianity and the Kongo religion.
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