Ndengese Box and Cover, Democratic Republic of the Congo
length 26 1/4in (6.7cm)
William Fagg, England
Private Collection, California
A note from William Fagg accompanies this work:
This box is most unusual in being sumptuously ornamented with copious decoration based on small black and natural-colour triangles and above all with two carved heads at the ends in the Ndengese version of the classical Kuba style. The triangulated decoration is considerably less elaborate then is the Kuba custom, where there is a large repertory of named motifs with names formerly at least known to all Kuba; it is improbable that this apparatus was transmitted across the Sankuou into the Ndangese country on the Lukenie, and indeed the triangulate forms are more similar to the now rare barkcloth usen in certain Kuba ceremonials, (illegible) is art into small triangles and sewn together. It would appear probable that this object was an apparatus(?) of kingship, but its purpose is uncertain, although by analogy with the Kuba usage it could be to hold metal razors or eagle feathers.
I have attached a photograph of the piece and have dated it with today's date.
Signed, William Fagg, 23 January 1985