African art > Statues > Statue Hemba

Ancestor statue Hemba Singiti (N° 14668)

Sporting an angular profile, this figure of ancestor, intermediate between men and gods, is characterized by the serenity of its appearance, its broad head, and its position expressing a certain assurance camped on reduced legs, massive, including the oversized feet rest on a pedestal. A tiara engraved with alternating parallel lines delimits the shaved skull. The traditional sophisticated hairstyle, oiled and sprayed with red powder, then mounted on a raffia base, was arranged at the back as a cruciform element. The face is decorated with a crenellated V-beard, evoking the wisdom and experience of the forefather. Usually made in iroko, these ritual sculptures were venerated by a particular clan and stored in burial rooms in the chief's house. Oiled and velvety brown patina, locally matted. Residual inlays of ochre pigments.
The Hemba, based in southeastern Zaire, on the right bank of the Lualaba, have long been subject to the luba empire neighbour who had a definite influence on their culture, religion and art. The cult of ancestors, whose effigies have long been attributed to the Luba, is central to the society hemba . Genealogy is indeed the guarantor of privileges and the distribution of land. All aspects of the community are imbued with the authority of ancestors. Thus, they are considered to have an influence on justice, medicine, law and sacrifice. The statues singiti were kept by the fumu mwalo and honoured during ceremonies during which sacrifices were offered to them. Alongside the authority of hereditary chiefs, secret, male societies such as bukazanzi , and women, bukibilo , played a big role within the clan.
(Source: ", African Treasures, Tervuren Museum; "The Tribal Art of Black Africa" J.B. Bacquart; "Fleuve Congo", F.Neyt )  

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Originex-collection espagnole
EthnyHemba
Countryrdc ex zaire
Material(s)wood
Height37
Width11
Weight1.30 Kg
Estimated datingmid-xx°

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