Peoples & Societies


The Kongo are a group of related Bantu-speaking peoples—which includes the Yombe, Woyo, Boma, and Mboma— who live in the adjacent areas of the Republic of Congo, Angola, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. They are known for their carved wood power figures that invoke the spirits. The Kongo also create stone and ceramic funerary art, wooden masks, and regalia. An alliance with the Portuguese enabled the Kongo peoples to prosper and gain immense political power in the 15th century. During this time the king and many of the Kongo peoples converted to Christianity. Slavery and war eventually led to the demise of the Kongo kingdom in the 18th century. Today the Kongo number over five million people.

Excerpt from

Roslyn A. Walker, The Arts of Africa at the Dallas Museum of Art (New Haven and London: Yale University Press, 2009), 302.

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