The solidarity of the Bakongo people has a long history based on the splendor of the ancient Kongo kingdom and the cultural unity of the Kikongo language. Founded in the fifteenth century AD, the kingdom was discovered by Portuguese explorer Diego Cao when he landed at the mouth of the Congo River in 1484.
The Bakongo are a blend of peoples who assimilated the Kongo culture and language over time. The kingdom consisted of some thirty groups at its beginning. Its original inhabitants occupied a narrow corridor south of the Congo River from present-day Kinshasa to the port city of Matadi in the lower Congo. Through conflict, conquest, and treaties, they came to dominate neighboring tribes, including the Bambata, the Mayumbe, the Basolongo, the Kakongo, the Basundi, and the Babuende. These peoples gradually adopted the Bakongo culture and through intermarriage blended completely with the Bakongo.
Traditionally, Bakongo artisans have excelled in woodcarving, sculpting, painting, and stonework.
Handcarved Tribal Mask from the Bakongo Tribe, Democratic Republic of Congo
Length: 35.5 cm
Width: 21.5 cm
Height: 15 cm
Weight: 1.19 kg