Unrivalled art

Temporary exhibition


This room contains four display cabinets with a significant collection of artistic production in the domain of masks, statuary, sculpted ivory and ‘utilitarian’ art. The pieces brought together here almost all come from Congo and mainly date back to the 19th and the first half of the 20th century. 

Other display cabinets deal with more specific themes, which really touch on considerations specific to the History of Art.
For example, in some it is a matter of trying better to understand the notion of beauty from an African perspective. In other spaces, it is about better understanding the extent to which the Belgian presence modified certain aspects of the production and sale of sculptures in Congo. 
In a different part of the room, researchers will propose an alternative to the study of African material cultures outside the context of ethnography, by developing the discipline of the history of arts in Africa. 

This approach, which owes a lot to the pioneering work of Belgians such as F. M. Olbrechts (former director of the RMCA), makes it possible to develop stylistic and iconographic analysis in African art, but also, and this is of paramount importance, the research carried out by the artist, the Man behind the object.


cover booklet of the exhibition


Booklet of the exhibition
Unrivalled Art is accompanied by a booklet available in four languages (English, French, Dutch and German). 
The booklet is available in the gallery itself.
Visitors are asked to return the booklet after their visit.
Download the booklet in English (pdf - 2,3 MB)
How to use the booklet?
The numbers on the showcases match the page numbers in the booklet.

  • Numbers on top of the showcase refer to the theme.
  • Numbers on the bottom of the glass panels provide information on objects.
cover book Unrivalled art


Unrivalled Art.
Spellbinding Artefacts at the Royal Museum for Central Africa

Series “Collections of the RMCA”, special issue
Published by BAI and the RMCA, A copublication with Philippe de Moerloose
ISBN : 978-9-0858-6776-0
25 €


This exhibition received the support of Philippe de Moerloose.