Rare, Large Kuba Anthropomorphic Ritual Cup, Democratic Republic of the Congo
height 10 5/8in (27cm)
with inlaid cowrie shell eyes and copper decoration attached to the cheeks and to the side of the right eye (left attachment missing); fine, rich dark-brown patina with areas of encrustation.
Collected by Henry M. Stanley while exploring the Congo in the 19th century
Baron Charles Liebrechts, Belgium
General Constant van Langhendonck, Belgium
Baron Freddie Rolin, Belgium
Armand Arman, France
Private American Collection
Henry M. Stanley was the author of two well-known books of his exploration and mapping of the Congo, The Congo and the Founding of Its Free State (1888) and In Darkest Africa (1890).
A letter relating to the provenance accompanies the lot.
For two related examples of the rare size and form of this anthropomorphic cup, compare with a cup in the Musée Royal de L'Afrique Centrale Tervuren (MMA:Af-14, Kuba Q-17) which came into the museum in 1910, and another published in Art of the Kongo by the Walker Art Center in 1967: fig. 10.