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Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History

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Summary | 25 Annotations
Kongo ivories reflect the dynamics of artistic expression and social histor
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ry
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a precious commodity that was strictly controlled by Kongo chiefs and kings
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These leaders commissioned expert sculptors to produce fine ivory objects for their personal and courtly use
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With the rise of transatlantic trade from the seventeenth through the nineteenth centuries, ivory became one of the most valuable African natural resources desired by Western industry. Eventually, Kongo ivory carvers expanded their repertoire to include not only works for indigenous leaders and elites, but also artifacts for European and other foreigners who were involved with trade
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elaborate ivory sculpture
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devotional and decorative
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scepters
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as emblems of royal and chiefly authority
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The summits of these scepters are sometimes covered or filled with a mixture of clay-packed medicinal herbs that served to reinforce a leader’s spiritual power
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aesthetic qualities
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e in colo
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e collective effects of handling, use, age, and environment
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popular souvenir
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Loango Coast ivorie
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demonstrates Kongo sculptors’ adaptability in providing artworks of great artistic accomplishment for both indigenous and foreign clients
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colonial rule
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Scenes commonly portrayed in relief on the ivories capture the dynamic and cosmopolitan coastal activity related to the transatlantic trade.
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Kongo oliphants and other ivory sculptures from this period are often described as Afro-Portuguese ivories
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Afro-Portuguese ivories reflect both indigenous African and Renaissance European visual elements
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Afro-Portuguese and Loango Coast ivories incorporate visual elements from both foreign and indigenous sources
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appealed to Western tastes for illustrated narrative
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Loango coast souvenir ivories also reflect indigenous artistic traditions for relief-carved artworks
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a social class of middlemen
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Afro
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