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Catalog Data

Kongo artist  Search this
Ivory, wood
H x W x D: 32.8 x 13.6 x 13.5 cm (12 15/16 x 5 3/8 x 5 5/16 in.)
Loango coast, Congo
Label Text:
This ivory tusk, collected in 1861, is an example of an important tradition of export art. It was carved by an artist who lived along the Loango coast in the Congo region. He rendered with detail a series of pictorial sequences in relief that spiral the length of the tusk. Figures in the scenes seem to depict Loango life as a series of men posed and making culturally significant gestures. It has both interesting imagery that relates to trade and local traditions and a base that documents its collection history: Paymaster Geo. Kennedy U.S. Navy to Dudley Kavanagh 1863 Procured on West Coast of Africa in 1861.
Ivory tusk with spiral relief carving of Africans with finial of seated European male with left hand on beard and right on thigh on a dark wood circular base tapering to top and seperate ivory ring with inscription in English.
George Kennedy, U.S. Navy, 1861 to 1863
Dudley Kavanagh, 1863
Edward Eliçofon, New York, -- to 1974
Exhibition History:
From Slavery to Freedom, National Underground Railroad Freedom Center, Cincinnati, July 2004-October 2007
Captive Passages: The Atlantic Slave Trade and the Making of the Americas, Mariner's Museum, Newport News, Virginia, April 6, 2002-January 5, 2003; Anacostia Community Museum, Washington D.C., February 2-August 21, 2003; South Street Seaport Museum, New York, October 1, 2003-February 15, 2004
Elephant: The Animal and Its Ivory in African Culture, Fowler Museum of Cultural History, University of California, Los Angeles, September 25, 1992-June 1, 1993
Published References:
Felix, Marc Leo (ed). 2010. White Gold, Black Hands: Ivory Sculpture in Congo, Vol 1. Qiquhar, Heilungkiang, The People's Republic of China: Gemini Sun, p. 84, no. 26c.
Park, Edwards. 1983. Treasures of the Smithsonian. Washington, D.C.: Smithsonian Books, p. 391.
Ross, Doran (ed). 1992. Elephant: The Animal and Its Ivory in African Culture. Los Angeles: Fowler Museum of Cultural History, University of California, p. 36, no. 1-61.
Strother, Zoé Sara. 2016. Humor and Violence: Seeing Europeans in Central African Art. Indiana University Press.
bird  Search this
foreigner  Search this
furniture  Search this
Writing  Search this
monkey  Search this
male  Search this
female  Search this
Credit Line:
Gift of Edward I. Eliçofon
Object number:
See more items in:
National Museum of African Art Collection
Data Source:
National Museum of African Art