Primitive Opens Exhibit Devoted to African Bronzes Featuring Rare Crucifix Combining Ancestor Worship and Christianity

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Primitive, the well known Chicago gallery is exhibiting a rare crucifix from Africa combining elements of Christianity and Ancestor worship as part of a new exhibit featuring African bronzes. The crucifix illustrates that even among the converted, the native religion still held a powerful attraction.

The cross illustrates the converted still practiced their native religion

Primitive, the well known Chicago gallery is exhibiting a rare crucifix from Africa combining elements of Christianity and Ancestor worship as part of a new exhibit devoted to African bronzes. The cross, measuring ten inches high, shows a stylized Jesus accompanied by depictions of three small ancestral figures, their hands clasped in prayer position. Glen Joffe, the owner of Primitive, said, “The cross is neither pure Christian nor pure African art. It transcends either category combining the two.”

The cross is over 100 years old and was created by the Tabwa, a Congolese people living in the present day Democratic Republic of Congo. Christian missionaries first came to the area where the Tabwa live in the late 1400s, preceding Columbus’ trip to the new world. They worked to convey their convictions for hundreds of years, yet despite their perseverance the native peoples in the area continued to practice their ancient religion, which revolves around ancestor worship. The crucifix illustrates that even among the converted, the native religion still held a powerful attraction. Joffe added, "The cross illustrates the converted still practiced their native religion." The exhibit opened on Easter and will run until May 1st.

About Primitive: located in downtown Chicago, Primitive presents authentic one-of-a-kind collections of furniture, artifacts, textiles, jewelry, fashion and artwork from around the world. Whether visiting in-person or on the web, you will find a vast colorful mosaic of authentic collections brought from some of the world’s hardest to reach places. Everything offered by Primitive is collectible, has a story, history, purpose and design heritage, and comes “from the hand and heart.”

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