Catholic Missionary being Entertained by Head of Village, Sogno, Kingdom of Kongo, 1740s

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Image Reference

Paola Collo and Silvia Benso (eds.), Sogno: Bamba, Pemba, Ovando e altre contrade dei regni di Congo, Angola e adjacenti (Milan: published privately by Franco Maria Ricci, 1986), p. 181.

The village head or chief ("mani") and the Capuchin missionary are seated on stools in front of a house; villagers bring provisions, presumably gifts for missionary. One of the Africans is kneeling, holding a cross. Caption notes that the head of the village has offered a house to the missionary for the period of his stay in the village; only the village head and missionary are allowed to sit; the man kneeling with the cross is the interpreter. This source in Italian is a modern printing of a 1747 manuscript (located in the Biblioteca Civica of Turin) which describes Capuchin expeditions to the Kingdom of Kongo. The watercolor paintings record moments in the daily lives of missionaries Bernardino Ignazio and Gaspare da Bassano, who were resident in Sogno from 1743-1747. Sogno (Sonyo in English) was a province of the kingdom. The illustrations and accompanying manuscript were done by Ignazio. (Thanks to James Sweet for assistance in interpreting the source.)