African art > African statues : tribal fetish, maternity > Hemba Statuette

Hemba Singiti Statuette (N° 16377)

This Hemba sculpture of modest size, an effigy of a local chief, was originally attributed to the Luba. It was supposed to facilitate contact with the tutelary spirits. Hemba clan chiefs had several statues of ancestors that they venerated and to which they dedicated offerings in order to establish their legitimacy. The position is classical, hands emphasizing a protruding abdomen, symbol of lineage. The cruciform headdress is delimited by a headband. Smooth brown patina with golden reflections. Satin surface.
The Hemba, established in southeastern Zaire, on the right bank of the Lualaba, were for a long time 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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OriginEx-collection française
EthnyHemba
Countryrdc ex zaire
Material(s)wood
Height21
Width6
Weight0.20 Kg
Estimated datingmid-xx°

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