African art > African Dolls > Tabwa figure

Tabwa figure (N° 22710)

The African tribal art of the Tabwa, prestigious objects.

Used by the female initiation society, these tubular female figures like the dolls in the group form protective charms.
Golden brown patina.
The Tabwa ("scarify" and "write") constitute an ethnic group present in the south-east of the DRC. Simple farmers without centralized power, they federated around tribal chiefs after coming under the influence of the Luba. It was mainly during this period that their artistic current was expressed mainly through statues but also masks. The Tabwa practiced ancestor worship and dedicated some of their statues named mkisi to them. Animists, their beliefs are anchored around the ngulu, spirits of nature present in plants and rocks. The Luba dominated the Tabwa in the region along Lake Tanganyika, between Zaire and Zambia. "Tabwa" or "being tied down" presumably refers to the system of slavery once practiced by Islamic merchants.
The Tabwa later regained their independence through the riches provided by the ivory trade. Just as the influence of the Luba is perceptible in the societies and rites of the Tabwa, the Tanzanian tribes have also marked the Tabwa statuary with regard to geometric decorative motifs. The Tabwa also worshiped Bampundu twins.


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Originex-collection française
Countryrdc ex zaire
Material(s)wood, plant fibre
Height cm15
Width6 cm
Weight0.15 Kg
Estimated datingcirca 1960

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