vintage, nostalgia and memories


April 23, 2017

The Incredibly Elongated Head Culture of the Mangbetu People

Mangbetu people live in Central Africa, in northeastern Congo. The name Mangbetu refers, strictly speaking, only to the aristocracy, which in the 19th century established a number of powerful kingdoms; in looser usage it denotes the whole amalgam of people they ruled.The Mangbetu impressed early travelers with their political institutions and their arts, especially their remarkable skill as builders, potters, and sculptors. They became renowned also for their supposed cannibalism and for their practice of deforming the heads of babies.


Lipombo’, the custom of skull elongation, which was a status symbol among the Mangbetu ruling classes at the beginning of the century and was later emulated by neighboring groups, evolved into a common ideal of beauty among the peoples of the northeastern Congo. The tradition survived until the middle of this century, when it was outlawed by the Belgian government.

The Mangbetu had a distinctive look and this was partly due to their elongated heads. At birth the heads of babies’ were tightly wrapped with cloth in order to give their heads the streamlined look. The practice began dying out in the 1950s with the arrival of more Europeans and westernization. Because of this distinctive look, it is easy to recognize Mangbetu figures in African art.



















0 comments:

Post a Comment


FOLLOW US
FacebookTumblrPinterestRSS

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...

Browse by Decades

Popular Posts

Random Posts