Crown and Ritual: The Royal Insignia of Ngoyo by Zdenka VolavkaCrown and Ritual: The Royal Insignia of Ngoyo by Zdenka Volavka

Crown and Ritual: The Royal Insignia of Ngoyo

byZdenka VolavkaIntroduction byColleen E. KrigerEditorWendy A. Thomas


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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.

Zdenka Volavka, now deceased, was born in Czechoslovakia and received her PhD from Charles University, Prague. She immigrated to Canada in 1968, and was Professor in the Department of Visual Arts, York University. Colleen E. Kriger is Assistant Professor Of History at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. Wendy A. Thomas i...
Title:Crown and Ritual: The Royal Insignia of NgoyoFormat:HardcoverDimensions:480 pages, 9.23 × 6.26 × 1.43 inPublisher:University of Toronto Press, Scholarly Publishing DivisionLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0802042279

ISBN - 13:9780802042279

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From Our Editors

One day, more than 20 years ago, Zdenka Volavka stumbled across the plaited copper crown of the African Kingdom of Ngoyo in the Musée de l'Homme in Paris, filled with a jumble of metal objects and ignominiously labelled as a fishing basket. The investiture regalia dated from the Iron Age of the second millennium, and Volavka spent the last few decades of her life studying her find. Crown and Ritual details her discoveries, including the nature of kingship and royal ritual among the Ngoyo, the meaning and function of the metal objects, and a detailed metallurgical analysis of the artifacts.