African art > Maternity, statues, bronze, wood > Kongo figure
Kongo Yombe Pfemba figure (N° 20432)
A carved figurine of the Kongo, this female effigy embodies the clan ancestor, a mediating figure.
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The child embodies the matrilineal transmission of power.
The mouth reveals traditionally filed teeth, the eyes seem exorbitant, underlining the capacity of the ancestress to discern occult things.
The use of this type of carving is not well known. However, they frequently formed the motif carved at the top of the chiefs' canes.
Light brown patina. Cracks and abrasions.
A clan of the Kongo group, the Yombe are established on the West African coast, in the southwestern Republic of the Congo and in Angola. Their statuary includes remarkable maternities.
Among the Kongo , the nganga took charge of rituals by activating a spiritual force with a nkondi (pl. nkissi). The term nkisi was later used to refer to notions of "sacred" or "divine." The most influential category of "minkisi kongo" consisted of instruments to assist regional chiefs in enforcing the law. Beginning in the second half of the twentieth century, minkisi minkondi were strategically placed along the coast 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 became the most ambitious and monumental sculptural genre.
Source: "le geste Kongo" Ed. Musée Dapper and "Trésors d'Afrique" Musée de Tervuren; "L'Ame de l'Afrique" s.Diakonoff.
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