Spencer Museum of Art The University of Kansas

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imbenge (basket)
  • Christopher Mhlongo
    active: South Africa
  • imbenge (basket), 2010
  • Where object was made: South Africa
  • telephone wire, wire, coiling
  • Object Height/Diameter: 2 x 38.5 cm
    Object Height/Diameter: 3/4 x 15 1/8 in
  • Gift in memory of Jo Ann Van Meter
  • Not on display
  • 2010.0190

Large, circular, very shallow basket made by coiling metal wire and wrapping it in brightly colored telephone wire. The main field color is a blue-green color, and is decorated with numerous pictorial elements in various colors. The center is solid black with a border of white triangles. Outside of that is a ring of three black four-legged animals with pointed ears, a long tail, and white spots, alternating with three orange houses or buildings with black pointed roofs, black door and black windows. Outside of that is a ring of alternating figures which includes three human figures with brown face, hands and legs, black hair and shoes, white eyes, red lips, and wearing a red dress over a white, long-sleeved shirt. There are three black animal figures which appear to be cats, and have pointed ears, a long tail, a long front appendage, which is possibly an extended leg, and white eyes and mouth. There are three white birds which have brown spots and feet, and have black eyes. There are three stylized trees or plants which have a central "trunk" and six limbs. There are three diamond shapes which are yellow with a purple border. There are four clusters of chevrons which include one red, one yellow and one purple chevron. There are also two shapes which are a purple diamond with a white border, with two orange triangles abutting the diamond on the lower half.
Adjacent to the border are several clusters of triangles in different colors with the points facing inward. There are clusters of black triangles, purple triangles, and red triangles, with three single orange triangles evenly spaced around the edge. The outermost rim is made up of alternating blocks of color in black, red and yellow.