African art > Maternity, statues, bronze, wood > Pfemba figure
Kongo Pfemba maternity figure (N° 21975)
Traditional Kongo sculpture, this statuette embodies the ancestor of the clan, a mediating figure, as evidenced by the scarifications of the bust. The child would embody the matrilineal transmission of power.
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The Yombe adorned their textiles, mats and loincloths, with lozenges related to proverbs glorifying work and social unity. The mouth reveals filed teeth, the gaze indicates the grandmother's ability to discern occult things. The use of this type of sculpture remains unknown. They frequently formed the carved pattern at the top of chiefs' canes. Satin black patina. Minor abrasions.
A clan of the Kongo group, the Yombe are established on the west coast of Africa, in the south-west of the Republic of Congo and in Angola. Their statuary includes remarkable maternities. The use of this type of sculpture remains unknown.
Among the Kongo , the nganga was responsible for the rituals by activating a spiritual force with an nkondi (pl. nkissi). The term nkisi was then used to designate the notions of "sacred" or "divine". From the second half of the 20th century, minkisi minkondi were strategically placed along the coasts of the Loango kingdom to protect against European incursions. Among the most powerful, the Mangaaka was considered the "king" and "master", supreme arbiter of conflicts and protector of communities, and which became the most ambitious and monumental sculptural genre.
Source: "the Kongo gesture" Ed. Dapper Museum and "Treasures of Africa" Museum of Tervuren; "The Soul of Africa" s.Diakonoff.
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