African art > Maternity, statues, bronze, wood > Mangbetu statue

Mangbetu statue (N° 22951)

The linear motifs running through this statuette refer to the traditional paintings of the ethnic group, inspired by the tattoos of the neighboring Asua pygmies and which evolved according to circumstances. Among the Mangbetu from an early age, children of the upper classes also suffered compression of the cranial box, held tight by raffia ties. Later, the hair was "knitted" on wicker strands and a headband encircled the forehead in order to bring out the hair and constitute this majestic headdress accentuating the elongation of the skull. The ancients call beli the anthropomorphic figures embodying ancestors, stored out of sight, and comparable to those belonging to their secret society nebeli.

Orange-brown patina, cracks and losses.
The Mangebetu kingdom in northern Congo produced architectural works that impressed European visitors in the 19th century. Their furniture, weapons, ornaments and statuary were imbued with a rare aesthetic quality. The ethnologist G.A. Schweinfurth in 1870 described its symmetry and refinement, while at the same time testifying to the ritual murders and human sacrifices practiced by "the people of the elongated heads".  

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OriginEx-collection belge
Countryrdc ex zaire
Height cm31
Width7 cm
Weight0.75 Kg

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