African art > African statues : tribal fetish, maternity > Hemba statue
Effigy of royal ancestor Hemba Singiti (N° 20840)
This tribal art hemba sculpture commemorating a local chief, an intermediary between men and the gods, stands out with its haughty bearing, long ringed neck, and bulbous abdomen. The body is tilted backwards, the position of the head with carefully detailed features, showing the pride of the ancestor.
Velvety patina, desiccation cracks.
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Usually made of iroko, these ritual sculptures were venerated by a particular clan and stored in a funerary room in the chief's house.
Dull grayish brown patina. Desiccation cracks, and numerous erosions.
The Hemba, established in southeastern Zaire on the right bank of the Lualaba River, were long subject to the neighboring Luba empire, which had a definite influence on their culture, religion, and art. Ancestor worship, whose effigies have long been attributed to the Luba, is central to hemba society. Genealogy is indeed the guarantor of privileges and land distribution. All aspects of the community are permeated by the authority of the ancestors. Thus, these are considered to have influence on justice, medicine, law and sacrifice.
The singiti statues were kept by the fumu mwalo and honored in ceremonies during which sacrifices were offered to them. Alongside the authority of the hereditary chiefs, secret societies, male such as the bukazanzi , and female, the bukibilo ,played a great role within the clan.
(Source: "Trésors d'Afrique, Musée de Tervuren; "L'Art tribal d'Afrique noire" J.B. Bacquart; "Fleuve Congo", F.Neyt)
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|Country||rdc ex zaire|
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