Object Name: Male figure
Culture: Mbole peoples
Place of Origin: Democratic Republic of the Congo
Date/Era: 19th century
Medium/Materials: Wood, paint
Dimensions: H: 61.00 cm, W: 16.50 cm, D: 11.00 cm
Credit Line: Fowler Museum at UCLA. Gift of the Wellcome Trust.
Accession Number: X65.7486
The Mbole peoples of the Democratic Republic of the Congo in Central Africa were governed by men’s communal associations that performed educational, judicial, social, political, economic, and religious functions. Figures such as this one were formerly hung to warn male initiates about the serious consequences of divulging the association’s secrets to women. Thus, this figure served as a kind of boundary marker between men’s and women’s domains of knowledge and power.
Source: Gallery text, Intersections: World Arts, Local Lives, 2006.
See also: Marla C. Berns, World Arts, Local Lives: The Collections of the Fowler Museum at UCLA. Fowler Museum, Los Angeles, 2014.