Tag Archives: Mbala

Object of the day: a ‘Mbala’ bottle opener

Image courtesy of Gi Mateusen.

Image courtesy of Gi Mateusen.

 

I came across a remarkable bronze object today. It’s clearly inspired on the famous Mbala statues of a drummer (as illustrated below), but it’s not in wood and much smaller.

 

Image courtesy of the Royal Museum for Central Africa, Tervuren, Belgium.

Image courtesy of the Royal Museum for Central Africa, Tervuren, Belgium.

 

The owner of the object was so kind to reveal the object’s function to me: a bottle opener, made for Belgian colonials, to be used during rituals involving beer 🙂  This object had a deep patina indicating extensive ritual use! These could be bought on Kinshasa’s craft market and were probably made far from the Mbala region to be sold as a souvenir of a visit to Congo.

 

Image courtesy of Gi Mateusen.

Image courtesy of Gi Mateusen.

I want one !

A pair of Mbala figures reunited during BRUNEAF 2015

Mbala couple Julien Flak reunited

A nice story from BRUNEAF: Julien Flak was exhibiting a female Mbala figure (which he had recently bought at Sotheby’s – info), when a local private dealer remarked he possessed its male pendant. He went home to collect it and not long after the two figures were reunited after being separated for about half a century: the female figure had been in the US since the 1970s, while the male figure had left Congo much later. Note how the female figure is bigger than the male statue. Unfortunately the male figure had lost its penis. Julien Flak of course did not hesitate and was able to buy the figure. Of course we don’t know if the two figures in fact ever were used together (the patina does differ) – however, it is clear that they were made by the same sculptor. They did look happy to be together again.

ps during Parcours des Mondes 2013 I witnessed an even more important reunion, read all about it here.

Mbala Suku couple Congo Flak

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