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Ngundja (Ceremonial Chair)

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unknown Chokwe

Ngundja (Ceremonial Chair)

Late 19th century
Carved wood and metal

24 1/2 in. x 12 3/8 in. x 13 1/4 in. (62.23 cm x 31.43 cm x 33.66 cm)

Bryn Mawr College
Accession Number: 99.3.135
Other Number(s): 123 (272) (Neufeld Collection Number)
272 (Sotheby's Lot Number)
Geography: Africa, Angola
Classification: Ceremonial and Performance Artifacts; Ritual Objects
Culture/Nationality: Tshokwe, Angolan, Central African, African
Collection: Neufeld Collection
Description: Dating back to the seventeenth century, this style of chair comes out of the carving traditions of the Chokwe of Angola. The head on the back, adorned with a chieftain’s headdress, may indicate that it was once a throne.

Keywords Click a term to view the records with the same keyword
This object has the following keywords:
  • African - Refers to the cultures of the continent of Africa, which is bounded by the Atlantic Ocean, the Indian Ocean, and the Mediterranean Sea.
  • Angolan - Style and culture of the people of Angola, a republic (formerly a Portuguese colony) in southwestern Africa.
  • carvings - Refers to works executed by cutting a figure or design out of a solid material such as stone or wood. It typically refers to works that are relatively small in size, are part of a larger work, or are not considered art. For large and medium-sized three-dimensional works of art, use the broader term "sculpture" or another appropriate term.
  • Central African - Styles and cultures from a wide region of Africa that straddles the Equator and is drained largely by the Congo River system.
  • ceremonial chairs - Chairs having a primarily ceremonial or ritual purpose.
  • Chokwe - Refers to the culture of the Bantu-speaking people inhabiting the southern Congo and northeastern Angola. They comprise many aboriginal peoples and conquering groups of Lunda origin, and they speak a language of the Benue-Congo branch of the Niger-Congo languages. They are hunters or agriculturalists, depending upon which region they inhabit. They live primarily in woodland savanna and strips of rainforest along rivers.
  • metal - Any of a large group of substances that typically show a characteristic luster, are good conductors of electricity and heat, are opaque, can be fused, and are usually malleable or ductile.
  • status symbols - Possessions or assets wthat confer prestige or are acquired as a symbol of high social standing or wealth.
  • wood - The principal tissue of trees and other plants that provides both strength and a means of conducting nutrients. Wood is one of the most versatile materials known.

Additional Images Click an image to view a larger version
Additional Image 99.3.135_BMC_f.jpg
Additional Image 99.3.135_BMC_r.jpg
Additional Image 99.3.135_BMC_pr.jpg
Additional Image 99.3.135_BMC_f_3.jpg
Additional Image 99.3.135_BMC_f_2.jpg
Additional Image 99.3.135_BMC_pl.jpg

  • Owner Name: Mace Neufeld and Helen Katz Neufeld, Class of 1953
    Role: Donor
    Place: Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania, US
    Ownership End Date: 12/17/1997

Bibliography List
The following Bibliography exist for this object:
  • Important Tribal Art Sotheby's . New York, NY, 1989
    Figure Number: 272
  • "African Heritage Document and Research Center." (Accessed June 11, 2020): Record No.: 0002378.

Comparanda List
The following Comparanda exist for this object:

Related Bibliography List
The following Related Bibliography exist for this object:
  • "ÌMỌ̀ DÁRA." (Accessed May 10, 2020):
  • "The Brooklyn Museum Online Collection." The Brooklyn Museum Online Collections Database. (Accessed April 9, 2020): Brooklyn Museum, Accession No.: 22.187.
  • Monica Blackmun Visona and Robin Poynor. A History of Art in Africa (Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson Education, Inc., 2001), 367-368. Figure Number: 11-29

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<ref name=BMC>cite web |url= |title=Ngundja (Ceremonial Chair) |author=Bryn Mawr College Library Special Collections |accessdate=3/23/2023 |publisher=Bryn Mawr College</ref>

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