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    Mongo Woman’s Beaded & Woven Buttock Shield (Bakonga)

    Mongo People, Congo
    early 20th century

    length: approximately 98cm, width of pompom: 12cm, weight: 292g

    Available Enquire


    private collection, London, UK.

    This unusual item is known as a bakonga was worn by Mongo women from the Congo around their hips just over their buttocks.

    It is of plant fibre, natural green dye, and dark blue and turquoise-blue trade beads.

    It has a large, decorative, tight, densely-packed and bristly, central pompom attached to a finely woven band that incorporates panels of geometric motifs. Each end has multiple plaited ties. The outer two strands, top and bottom, are threaded with varying blue glass trade beads.

    The bakonga is in fine condition other than one of the ties on one end has some bead loss. These ornaments are quite rare and rarely illustrated.

    A similar example is illustrated in Borel (1994, p. 70). Another is illustrated in Grootaers & Eisenburger (2002, p. 550). Two comprised lot 59 in Christie’s Paris sale ‘Arts d’Afrique de la Collection de Madame Nelly Van den Abbeele’, June 12, 2003. They were described (erroneously) as being from the Mangbetu people.


    Borel, F., The Splendour of Ethnic Jewelry: From the Colette and Jean-Pierre Ghysels Collection, Thames & Hudson, 1994.

    Grootaers, J. L. & I. Eisenburger, Forms of Wonderment: The History and Collections of the Afrika Museum, Berg en Dal, 2002.

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