African art > Statues > Statue Chokwe
Chief Figure Chokwe (N° 14942)
This tribal sculpture, symbol of power, glorifies the hunting qualities of the founding hero of the ethnic group, Chibinda Ilunga. At his feet, a miniature figure, auxiliary spirit hamba or even descending. This little character also evokes trade and wealth, the merchants moving at the time on the back of beef. The chef, with his palms and feet oversized, has an impressive nobility headdress. A smooth, brown and shiny patina, once due to the repeated application of castor oil and dyes vegetable decoctions, covers the entire body of Chokwe African art, revealing in places dull areas. Desication cracks.
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Peacefully settled in eastern Angola until the 16th century, the Chokwé were then subjected to the Lunda empire from which they inherited a new hierarchical system and the sanctity of power. Nevertheless, the Chokwes never fully embraced these new social and political contributions. Three centuries later, they eventually seized the capital of Lunda weakened by internal conflicts, thus contributing to the dismantling of the kingdom. The Chokwe did not have centralized power but great chiefdoms. They were the ones who attracted artists who wanted to put their know-how at the exclusive service of the court. The artists created so many varied and quality pieces that the Lunda court employed only them.
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