This introductory chapter presents textual, visual, and archeological evidence for the creation, use, and meaning of Christian visual forms in the Kongo between the 16th and 19th centuries. The images, objects, and practices present how Christianity and its visual manifestations remained significant in the shaping of political and religious life in the kingdom of Kongo during civil and foreign wars and the transatlantic slave trade. It establishes dates and offers interpretations on the sources and historical significance of the iconography of two main visual corpuses: Capuchin didactic watercolors and Kongo Christian art.
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