Mangbetu Royal Art and Herbert Lang, 1902-1906
by Enid Schildkrout
Museum for African Art (formerly American Museum of Natural History)
Mangbetu-style art was produced in abundance, not only by Mangbetu artists but also by some artists from neighboring groups, especially the Azande and Barambo. These works were created in the early colonial period, a time of intense confrontation between Africans and Europeans. African rulers, traditional patrons of the arts, governed in a new political environment, which local artists reflected in their work. In objects of ivory, terracotta, wood and fiber, they incorporated images of Europeans and of African life.