African art > Statues > Mbole figure
Figure Ofika Mbole (N° 18676)
Ex-collection French African tribal art.
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Half closed coffee bean eyelids and a mouth simply incised into a flat face give a neutral expression to the delicately sculpted female figure whose position is characteristic: legs bent, arms bent in an unnatural way, hands resting on the thighs. Semi-satin brown patina.
Mbole Mbole are known for their statues embodying, according to D. Biebuck, hanged men, named ofika. The lilwa, an association with dogmatic initiation rites, had the custom of judging and condemning to hanging those guilty of breaking the imposed rules. These offences ranged from murder to adultery and the breaking of the secret surrounding the lilwa. Dishonored, the bodies of convicts had no funeral and were buried in the forest. It was during the ceremonies at the end of the initiation, presided over by a notable isoya, that these statues of hanged men were exhibited, presented lying on a litter.
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|Country||rdc ex zaire|
|Estimated dating||1ère halfxx°|
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