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Artist/Maker: Kongo people (Democratic Republic of the Congo)

Date: 16th century
Medium: wood and copper alloy
Overall: 20 3/8 x 9 1/2 x 1 1/8 in. (51.8 x 24.1 x 2.9 cm)
Classification: Art Works
Credit Line: Gift of The May Department Stores Company
Object number: 68.002.006
DescriptionPortuguese landed at the mouth of the Congo River in 1482. By 1490, Christian missionaries had converted the royal family. The Christian image of the crucifix was congenial to the Kongo people who regarded it as similar to their own powerful religious concept of the four moments of the sun – birth, life, death, and renewal – shown in the form of a four armed cross. It also reminded them of the sign of the crossroads, a place of great portent for most Africans.
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In Collection(s)