African art > African statues : tribal fetish, maternity > Tabwa figure
Female figure Tabwa Mipasi (N° 20590)
An ancestor figure, this female African tribal art figure, standing on a circular base, bears the facial and body scarification of the Batabwa clans.
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Golden yellow satin patina, cracks and abrasions.
The Tabwa ("scarify" and "write") are an ethnic group found in southeastern DRC, around Lake Tanganyika. Tribes in this region, such as the Tumbwe , worship ancestors mipasi through carvings held by chiefs or sorcerers. A magical charge ( dawa )was frequently inserted atop the statues' heads. The diviners-healers used this type of object to reveal sorcery and protect against malevolent spirits.
Simple farmers without centralized power, the Tabwa federated around tribal chiefs after having been influenced by the Luba. It was mainly during this period that their artistic current was expressed mainly through statues but also masks. The Tabwa practiced ancestor worship and dedicated some of their statues to them. Animists, their beliefs are anchored around the ngulu , nature spirits present in plants and rocks.
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|Country||rdc ex zaire|
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