Blondiau theatre arts collection

Collection Data

The Blondiau-Theatre Arts Collection primarily from western central Africa in present-day Zaire, comprises the oldest and much of the finest group of African artifacts in the collection. It consists of ritual and ceremonial implements and utensils, such as bowls and cups; wooden and metal arms and armor; adornment items, i.e. ivory pendants, bronze necklaces; musical instruments; reliquaries, figurines, statues and masks. Ethnic groups represented are the: Kuba, Zande, Luba, Kongo, Yaka, Lulua, Pende, Lozi, Waregas, Mende, Duala, Yoruba, Igbo, Kota, Chokwe and Songe.
Blondiau, Raoul (Collector)
Dates / Origin
Date Issued: 1895 - 1927
Library locations
Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, Art and Artifacts Division
Shelf locator: Sc Art (Blondiau theatre arts collection)
Musical instruments -- Congo (Democratic Republic)
Implements, utensils, etc -- Congo (Democratic Republic)
Staffs (Sticks, canes, etc.) -- Congo (Democratic Republic)
Weapons -- Congo (Democratic Republic)
Statutes -- Congo (Democratic Republic)
Ivories -- Congo (Democratic Republic)
Figurines -- Congo (Democratic Republic)
Jewelry -- Congo (Democratic Republic)
Pendants (Jewelry) -- Congo (Democratic Republic)
Necklaces -- Congo (Democratic Republic)
Masks -- Congo (Democratic Republic)
Reliquaries, Kota (Africa)
Zande (African people) -- Congo (Democratic Republic)
Luba (African people) -- Congo (Democratic Republic)
Kongo (African people) -- Congo (Democratic Republic)
Yaka (African people) -- Congo (Democratic Republic)
Lulua (African people) -- Congo (Democratic Republic)
Pende (African people) -- Congo (Democratic Republic)
Lozi (African people) -- Congo (Democratic Republic)
Lega (African people)
Mende (African people)
Duala (African people) -- Cameroon
Yoruba (African people) -- Nigeria
Igbo (African people) -- Nigeria
Kota (African people)
Chokwe (African people)
Songye (African people)
Animism -- Congo (Democratic Republic)
Secret societies -- Rituals -- Congo (Democratic Republic)
Preferred citation: From the collection of the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, The New York Public Library, Astor Lenox & Tilden Foundation, Arts & Artifacts Division.
Ownership: The Blondiau-Theatre Arts Collection was the first collection of African art and artifacts acquired by the Schomburg Center, then the 135th Street Library. The collection was assembled as a private collection by Raoul Blondiau, a Belgian diplomat who collected works from the Congo (present-day Zaire) during a the first years of the official beginning of colonization, (August 15, 1885). These artifacts are pre-colonial and belonged to chieftains who used them for ceremonial occasions only. In 1927, the collection of nearly one thousand items which had been purchased by Mrs Edith Issacs, publisher of Theatre Arts Monthly magazine was brought to this country and exhibited at the New Art Circle Gallery on 57th Street in New York City. Through the aide of Dr. Alain Locke, over seventy objects from the Collection were put on exhibit at the 135th Street Branch Library and were subsequently given to the Center forming the core of the African art and artifacts holdings.
Citation/reference: Forms part of the African Art and Artifacts Collection.
Physical Description
Extent: 5 musical instruments.
Extent: 31 vessels.
Extent: 5 staffs.
Extent: 3 weapons.
Extent: 6 adornment items.
Extent: 10 statues.
Extent: 11 utilitarian objects.
Extent: 7 masks.
Type of Resource
Three dimensional object
RLIN/OCLC: NYPG085000085-F
NYPL catalog ID (B-number): b11486936
Universal Unique Identifier (UUID): de5cb560-4e6f-0137-32a7-57b2b9bd5de0
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