Anthropomorphic water pipe featuring a slender female figure, whose bust is inspired by the doll statuettes Mpundu of female societies. The perosnnage sits on the spherical pipe bowl made of a calabash. These pipes were used to reduce the harshness of fresh tobacco. Black oiled patina. Desiccation cracks.
The Tabwa ("to scarify" and "to write") are an ethnic group found in southeastern DRC, around Lake Tanganyika. Tribes in this region, such as the Tumbwe, worship ancestors mipasi through carvings held by chiefs or witch doctors.
Simple cultivators without centralized power, the Tabwa 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 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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