Catalogue


Crown and ritual : the royal insignia of Ngoyo /
Zdenka Volavka ; introduction and conclusion by Colleen E. Kriger ; edited by Wendy A. Thomas.
imprint
Toronto : University of Toronto Press, 1998.
description
xvi, 411 p., [23] p. of plates : ill. ; 24 cm.
ISBN
0802042279 (cloth : acid-free paper)
format(s)
Book
Holdings
More Details
imprint
Toronto : University of Toronto Press, 1998.
isbn
0802042279 (cloth : acid-free paper)
catalogue key
2394975
 
Includes bibliographical references (p. [367]-385) and index.
A Look Inside
Full Text Reviews
Appeared in Choice on 1999-09:
Volavka's posthumous book documents four centuries of religious and political history of Ngoyo, a little-known kingdom of the Kongo culture complex, located in what is now the Angolan enclave of Cabinda. It also documents her extraordinary discovery in the Musee de l'Homme, Paris, that a mislabeled "fishing basket" was the long-lost crown of Ngoyo kings, once venerated in the shrine of Lusunsi. This find became Volavka's scholarly passion, and the result is one of the most deeply detailed material culture studies from Africa or anywhere else. The crown is an exquisite structure of woven copper wire, with leopard-claw-shaped copper bangles as a metaphor for the rapacious self-interest of Ngoyo kings, who profited handsomely from the transatlantic slave trade. Volavka was an idiosyncratic writer, and occasionally her readers may be overwhelmed by her wealth of data about central African metallurgy, ritual and magical practices, and political economy. Specialists will not be the only ones to find her book engaging, however, for she has ably captured the complex history of an African kingdom that from the late 15th century on was caught between African and European worlds. Upper-division undergraduates and above. A. F. Roberts; University of California, Los Angeles
Reviews
This item was reviewed in:
Choice, September 1999
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Summaries
Main Description
One day, more than twenty years ago, Zdenka Volavka found a lost treasure: the investiture regalia of the African kingdom of Ngoyo, dating from the Iron Age of the second millennium. The plaited copper crown or mpu, turned upside-down and filled with a jumble of metal objects, was on display in the MusTe de l'Homme in Paris, ignominiously labelled as a 'fishing basket.' These objects became the focus of Volavka's research in her remaining years, and form the subject of her book. Combining extensive field work with ethnographic, historical, scientific, and linguistic analysis, Volavka reconfigures the nature of kingship and royal ritual in Ngoyo, uncovering the objects' true meaning and function, and reintegrating them into their original context. Detailed metallurgical analyses are included, along with a study of the role of copper in the lives of the peoples of the lower Za¦re basin. Volavka provides a sophisticated analysis of the social context of visual art and material culture and a special contribution to the history and ethnography of West Central Africa.
Description for Reader
One day, more than twenty years ago, Zdenka Volavka found a lost treasure: the investiture regalia of the African kingdom of Ngoyo, dating from the Iron Age of the second millennium. The plaited copper crown or mpu, turned upside-down and filled with a jumble of metal objects, was on display in the MusTe de l'Homme in Paris, ignominiously labelled as a 'fishing basket.' These objects became the focus of Volavka's research in her remaining years, and form the subject of her book.Combining extensive field work with ethnographic, historical, scientific, and linguistic analysis, Volavka reconfigures the nature of kingship and royal ritual in Ngoyo, uncovering the objects' true meaning and function, and reintegrating them into their original context. Detailed metallurgical analyses are included, along with a study of the role of copper in the lives of the peoples of the lower Za¦re basin.Volavka provides a sophisticated analysis of the social context of visual art and material culture and a special contribution to the history and ethnography of West Central Africa.
Description for Reader
One day, more than twenty years ago, Zdenka Volavka found a lost treasure: the investiture regalia of the African kingdom of Ngoyo, dating from the Iron Age of the second millennium. The plaited copper crown or mpu, turned upside-down and filled with a jumble of metal objects, was on display in the MusTe de l'Homme in Paris, ignominiously labelled as a 'fishing basket.' These objects became the focus of Volavka's research in her remaining years, and form the subject of her book. Combining extensive field work with ethnographic, historical, scientific, and linguistic analysis, Volavka reconfigures the nature of kingship and royal ritual in Ngoyo, uncovering the objects' true meaning and function, and reintegrating them into their original context. Detailed metallurgical analyses are included, along with a study of the role of copper in the lives of the peoples of the lower ZaA re basin. Volavka provides a sophisticated analysis of the social context of visual art and material culture and a special contribution to the history and ethnography of West Central Africa.
Unpaid Annotation
One day, more than twenty years ago, Zdenka Volavka found a lost treasure: the investiture regalia of the African kingdom of Ngoyo, dating from the Iron Age of the second millennium. The plaited copper or mpu, turned upside-down and filled with a jumble of metal objects, was play in the Musee de l'Homme in Paris, ignominiously labelled as a 'fishing basket.' The study of these objects became the focus of Volavka's remaining decades, and forms the subject of her book.Combining extensive field work with ethnographic, historical, scientific and linguistic analysis, Volavka reconfigures the nature of kingship and royal ritual among the Ngoyo, uncovering the objects' true meaning and function, and reintegrating them into their original context. Detailed metallurgical analyses are included, along with a study of the role of copper in the lives of the peoples of the lower Zaire basin.Volavka provides a sophisticated analysis of the social context of visual art and material culture and a special contribution to the history and ethnography of west-central Africa.
Table of Contents
Foreword
Editor's Note
Acknowledgments
Introduction and History of the Investigationp. 3
The Insigniap. 9
The Shrinep. 57
The Sacredp. 113
Copperp. 149
Conclusionsp. 225
Catalogue and Comparative Analysisp. 235
Documentation of the Identified Inventory of the Lusunsi Shrinep. 255
Scientific Analysesp. 257
Historical Documentsp. 289
Historical Tables and Chartsp. 298
Notesp. 311
Works Citedp. 367
Indexp. 387
Table of Contents provided by Blackwell. All Rights Reserved.

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