Mankon museum
Permanent exhibition
Mankon Kingdom or Ala’Mankon
Art and Power
Art and Society
Patronage, Clientèle, Exchanges and Artistic Relations
Creativity, Artists and Craftsmen
Mankon, itineraries of collective memory.

Patronage, Clientèle, Exchanges and Artistic Relations

In Mankon, the king, the notables and the regulatory secret societies are patrons of the arts and the principal clients of artists. This is facilitated by the fact that each title, each function and each benefit in society has attached to it symbolic or cult objects of prestige that the individual must own, according to his rank. This clientele stimulates plastic production, influences creation, both by maintaining the respect for the plastic tradition and by being an innovator or agent of change, on the occasion of commissions. However, it is the fon who is the first patron of the arts and of artistic activities. He had the monopoly of luxury materials: ivory, copper and its alloys, certain woods. Sculptors with personal workshops worked more frequently with the palace. Beads and cowries were used as money in the past.

The movement in different ways of materials, art objects and men, represented exchanges between the kingdoms of the Grassland. Thus the place of collection of a piece was not necessarily that of its production. For example, several objects from the royal treasure of Mankon come from the kingdom of Babungo, from some workshops of Babanki Tungo, etc. Through the practice of gifts and counter-gifts, as pledges of alliance and commercial relations between kings, a piece given could be used far from the place of its production. The circulation of objects is accompanied by movements of artists which are not to be overlooked from one kingdom to another to fill commissions, answer the invitation of a fon, or for personal reasons. Styles, themes and models of objects created by artists were copied and reproduced with modifications of varying degrees, by artists belonging to other kingdoms. It is comprehensible why it is delicate to announce the origin of certain pieces, when there is no irrefutable proof of its author.


Lampstand (ateke nka’)

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