Plant fibers and dye
Overall: 19.7 x 27.3 x 6.3 cm (7 3/4 x 10 3/4 x 2 1/2 in.)
Gift of the African Art Sponsors of Karamu House 1929.353
A curved "handle" on the negbe's interior allowed it to rest on the tailbone.
Egbe (singular: negbe) were fashionable and practical garments aristocratic Mangbetu women made for special occasions. Worn over a skirt, it tied onto a girdle along with a frontal “apron.” The curved interior piece rested on the lower back. Thickly woven, flexible natural fibers bent with the body, cushioning the wearer’s behind when sitting. When the woman was standing, the decorated flat portion faced outward, showing off bold geometric motifs. Egbe were among items sold to foreigners at the Mangbetu king’s encouragement as the Mangbetu actively constructed their self image for outsiders during the 1920s and 1930s.
The information about this object, including provenance, may not be currently accurate. If you notice a mistake or have additional information about this object, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
To request more information about this object, study images, or bibliography, contact the Ingalls Library Reference Desk.
All images and data available through Open Access can be downloaded for free. For images not available through Open Access, a detail image, or any image with a color bar, request a digital file from Image Services.