The Kongo are a people from central Africa, mainly settled in the south of the Republic of Congo (Congo-Brazzaville), in the provinces of central Congo (formerly named Bas-Congo) and of Bandundu, in the Democratic Republic of Congo, and in a large part of Angola. At the end of the 20th century, their population was estimated at approximately 10 million people.
Depending on the sources, we can note multiple variants: Bacongo, Badondo, Bakango, Ba-Kongo, Bakongos, Bandibu, Bashikongo, Cabinda, Congo, Congos, Fjort, Frote, Ikeleve, Kakongo, Kikongo, Kileta, Kongos, Koongo, Nkongo, Wacongomani1
Internationally, the prevailing term is Bakongo, in Kikongo ba- is the prefix indicating the plural, mu- indicates the singular, and ki- the language.
The Kongo religion considers the world as multidimensional. The material world and the spiritual world are two spaces which intersect at some points of the universe. Humans are limited to inferior or advanced dimensions. Spirits evolve in a sub-part of this universe of at least 8 dimensions. In the world of the spirits there is the city of the ancestors, Mpemba. Beyond these worlds, there is Kalunga Nzambi ya Mpungu Tulendu. Ancestors act as intermediaries between the divine and men.
The divine is perceived as the primary Cause of all things, the vital essence of all things and the final destination of all things. Hence, Kalunga is at the same time the place where the spirits are headed, the place from which they come and the place of God himself (Nzambi), source of the spirits. Kalunga is also the primitive sea from which everything came out, the self-created, the Ka that reigns over all things (Ka: vital essence; Lunga: to accomplish, achieve and reign).
Spirituality is also the basis of the political and social organisation.
The intersection between the two worlds has the form of a cross, which explains the importance of this symbol in the Kongo culture. Furthermore, the Ne-Kongo figure (which comes from the name of Kongo) is supposed to be this intersection between Kalunga and the human world, therefore, it is a divine being in a human form, also symbolised by the cross. The similarities with Christianity helped for its adoption.
The descent is matrilineal and all the individuals forming the Kongo people are grouped in 12 clans (kânda in Kongo), also found in the names of many peoples of Black Africa; it is the case for the Mbenza among the Serers, the Wolof, the Muyabi, descendants of Nzinga, among the Duala, the Mossi, etc...
- Indigenous object name
- Ancienne collection Robert Lemariey (France, Paris)
- Ethnic group/ culture
- Region/ country
- Congo DRC
- Sold with stand
- 18×8×8 cm