African art > African statues : tribal fetish, maternity > Chokwe figure
Chokwe figure (N° 22049)
Inspired by Christian sculpted motifs, this African sculpture depicting a nun or a saint reflects the impact of Christianization. When these objects were not made on behalf of a local parish, they were frequently reused in fetishist cults, intended for soothsayers and chiefs.
Letting appear the blows of the adze, this sculpture features a woman simply dressed in a long veil and a tunic revealing imposing feet and hands. The face, accompanying the subtle inclination of the bust, presents ample orbits and sharp features, in relief.
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Dark brown patina, satin, cracks and erosions.
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 sacredness of power. Nevertheless, the Chokwé never fully adopted these new social and political contributions. Three centuries later, they ended up seizing the capital of the Lunda weakened by internal conflicts, thus contributing to the dismantling of the kingdom. The Chokwé did not have centralized power but large chiefdoms. They were the ones who attracted artists wishing to put their know-how at the exclusive service of the court. The artists created so many varied pieces and of such quality that the Lunda court only employed them. Within the Tchokwé society, hunting and cultivation lands were provided by King mwana ngana.
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