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African art > African statues : tribal fetish, maternity > Statue Chokwe

Effigy of Chief Tchokwe (N° 14599)

Singularity of the works of African art Chokwe
A remarkable finely detailed composition qualifies this African statue of the Chokwe composed of four interlocking elements. It features a chef wearing a European hat and sitting in a prestigious seat reserved for notables. His large, oversized hands hold a tobacco pot. Tobacco use was widespread among the Chokwe, and smoke was an integral part of offerings to spirits ajimu . The meticulous treatment of facial features, and the chiseling of fingers and nails is noteworthy. The beard is also made up of human hair. The repatry application of castor oil and dyes vegetable decoctions has given the sculpture a black patina. (B. Wastiau) 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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Originex-collection allemande
Weight1.45 Kg
Estimated datingcirca 1950

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