A harp from Africa!

  1. Pasha Alden
    Pasha Alden
    Ngbaka Harp - Congo DRC
    M'Bala - Bouaka - Buaka - Bwaka - Harp
    Importante Harpe Ngbaka
    Ngbaka Harp - circa 1950
    The Ngbaka live in the far north west of Congo. They migrated there from Lake Tchad (Lke Chad) around 1920. They are well known for their anthropomorphic harps. The example above and below is exceptional. It depicts the Ngbaka central forehead knobs, scarification that Casimir Zagourski photographed during the period.
    The large figure stands at 49 cms. Shoulder points measure + - 18 cms across. A single hard fibre cord remains.
    The Ngbaka harp is steeped in historical trade history. The resonator cover tin was once part of a vegetable oil container imported from East Africa. The colonial nails are also old and probably originated in Belgium.
    Hard fibre cord decorates each ear, one with an attached Queen Elizabeth The Second medallion. Rear resonator holes are of different diameters, each burned separately with an ironsmiths hot poker. A copper ring adorns the nose (below).
    This figurative harp is adorned with nearly Luba stylized coffee bean eyes, so much so that it may be suggested the artist travelled from one region to the other.
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