Museum of Chinese Art and Ethnography Xaverian Missionaries - V.le S. Martino, 8 - Parma, Italy 0521-257.337

Traditional African Art


Mask Kalunga – Bembe-Fizi
Kalunga Mask – Bembe-Fizi

The numerous exhibits of African art have led us to study about this part of the world, still unknown in our modern world. Its mysterious and fascinating art is represented by masks, fetishes, amulets, symbols of power, etc. ...

The traditional African art collection of the Museum is not just a display of objects for the aesthetic admiration of the visitors, but "it is an integral part of religion, for it supports the beliefs and rituals related to the life of its producers. These objects constitute the means or passages for people towards Transcendence, and viceversa" (The Sources of the Sacred in African art, Faik Nzuji Clementine).

It is evident that all the objects created by the African “homo religiosus” (figurines, masks, signs of prestige, etc ...) embody and make visible the spiritual beings, and thus these objects are used in order to establish "contact" with the Sacred. These collections help us "understand" the African soul, and its art is a teaching and informational tool.

For an Ethnographic Museum such as ours, the main concern is not so much to exhibits unique or spectacular objects. The displays, particularly the rich elements of the people of Eastern Congo, want to offer a cross-section of a society that perceives the mystery, the forces of nature, the meaning of life in a way that for us Europeans seems like an invitation to rediscover those values which our society so often discards.


Africa: Traditional Art