African art > Head rest > Tabwa pipe
Tabwa neck rest and pipe (N° 19509)
Fascinating double-purpose object, this figurative headrest is supported by caryatid elements ingeniously acting as a pipe. Indeed, the horn inserted in the animal motif composes the mouthpiece of the pipe, the smoke having to escape through the hole made in the head of the carved character.
Patina of use, small accidents.
The Tabwa ("to scarify" and "to write") constitute an ethnic group present in the South-East of the DRC, around Lake Tanganyika. The tribes of this region, such as the Tumbwe, worship the Mipasi ancestors through sculptures held by chiefs or sorcerers. A magical charge (dawa) was frequently placed at the top of the head of the statues. The diviners-healers used this type of object to reveal sorcery and protect against malevolent spirits.
The Tabwa were simple farmers with no centralized power, and after coming under the influence of the Luba, they became federated around tribal chiefs. It is mainly during this period that their artistic movement was expressed through statues and masks. The Tabwa practiced ancestor worship and dedicated some of their statues to them. Animists, their beliefs are anchored around the ngulu, nature spirits present in plants and rocks.
Source : "Trésors d'Afrique" ed. Museum of Tervuren.
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|Country||rdc ex zaire|
|Estimated dating||2ème halfxx°|
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