African art > Statues > Fetish Hemba
Fetish Luba Hemba Soko muntu (N° 17702)
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The pieces named soko mutu , suku muntu , (from Swahili, man brother, and KiHemba, ibombo ya soho : 'monkey face') belonged to the cult of ancestors and existed in two forms: on the one hand large masks used during ritual dances, and on the other hand, small masks or statuettes used as gifts, were hung in the boxes as protective amulets. These masks have recently been renamed mwisi gwa so'o , which expresses a concept that it is a chimpanzee spirit that would be incarnated in the mask. This protective statuette is provided for ritual purposes with an orifice at the top of the head.
Satin dark brown, abraded areas of light brown golden color.
Mastering sculpture with talent, the Hemba have mostly produced statues of ancestors singiti, embodying chiefs, local warriors, or lineage ancestors that they venerated in order to appease the mizimus spirits. A wide variety of ritual objects, fetishes, simiesque masks, gourds, and others of daily use have made their fame. The Hemba are a subgroup of the Luba ethnic group living in southeastern DR Congo, east of the Lualaba River. The Hemba have long been subject to the neighbouring Luba empire, which had a definite influence on their culture, religion and art. The cult of ancestors is central to hemba society. Genealogy is indeed the guarantor of the privileges and distribution of land. All aspects of the community are imbued with the authority of the ancestors. Thus, they are considered to have an influence on justice, medicine, law and sacrifices. Source: Art and life in Africa , C D. Roy. and ' The other face Ed. Adam Biro.
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