African Chokwe statuette depicting a chief seated on a prestigious seat reserved for notables. Wearing a European hat, he has a tobacco jar. Tobacco use was widespread among the Chokwe, and smoking was an integral part of offerings to ajimu spirits. Chokwe sculptures of the same type were smeared with castor oil and coloring vegetable decoctions. (B. Wastiau)
Desication crack, shiny bronze patina.
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.
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