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Chest Ornament (Bibika)

A work made of glass beads, cotton thread, coins, and shells.

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  • A work made of glass beads, cotton thread, coins, and shells.

Date:

Mid–20th century

Artist:

Possibly Yaka, Suku, or Holo
Kwango River region, Democratic Republic of the Congo
Central Africa

About this artwork

Distinctive, cylindrically shaped glass beads were imported to Africa in the early 20th century, where they captured the imagination of the Yaka and related peoples, who called them n-saanga. They were used to adorn chiefly headdresses and to make women’s anklets, ear pendants, necklaces, and large chest ornaments. The fringe of this red chest ornament terminates in small spiral-shaped Zimbu shells, which were commonly used as beads and currency in the region before the introduction of glass beads. [See also 2000.50].

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Arts of Africa

Culture

Yaka

Title

Chest Ornament (Bibika)

Origin

Democratic Republic of the Congo

Date

1925–1975

Medium

Glass beads, cotton thread, coins, and shells

Dimensions

21.6 × 22.2 cm (8 1/2 × 8 3/4 in.) (excluding ties; including fringe)

Credit Line

Arnold Crane Endowment

Reference Number

2000.449

Extended information about this artwork

Object information is a work in progress and may be updated as new research findings emerge. To help improve this record, please email . Information about image downloads and licensing is available here.

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