Stockholm’s Ethnografiska Museet recently has made its archives accessible online. The database is called Carlotta and you can access it here. As many Swedish missionaries, explorers and soldiers donated their collections and archives to the museum, the database truly is a treasure-trove of never published material! One can easily browse away a day. The whole thing is in Swedish, so you might want to translate a country’s name before entering it in your query. Search for ‘Kongo figur‘, or names of field collectors like Bolinger or Karlman, and you are bound to find some interesting objects and images. Below some random examples of discoveries of mine.
I can’t applaud this kind of digitalisation initiatives enough. As a reminder, I’ve created a page on my website documenting all museum databases available online here. If something is missing, please do let me know – thanks. Also, if you know any museums that haven’t started digitalising yet, I’ll happily put them on the wall of shame 🙂
Published by Five Continents, African Fetishes and Ancestral Objects is an upcoming publication about a Brussels-based private collection. It features ca. 70 objects from four African style groups: the Kongo, Teke, Luba and Songye. Each object is described meticulously by François Neyt and illustrated with multiple beautiful pictures taken by Hughes Dubois. I was happy to contribute numerous related field-photos and drawings. Among others, I found an old drawing from 1888 featuring a Bwende man with the same hairstyle and scarifications as a pictured figure; as well as a field-photo by Burton showing one of the carvers of the Mwanza workshop (see below). The majority of the shown figures have never been published before and this book definitely puts them on the map. It’s very praiseworthy that the anonymous collector succeeded in bringing them together at this point in time; the close guidance by Didier Claes may have played an important role in the rediscovery of so many important objects.