This sculpture formed by four faces extending from a handle comes under the powerful fetishes kabeja, also used among the Luba, and, among the Kasongo living in contact with the Luba, Hemba and Songye populations, who name them kakuji. The top of the piece is pierced by a cavity in which a bijimba , a charge composed of magical elements from the natural, human and plant environment, were implanted. Each of the clans had a kabeji sculpture intended for protection and healing. But this type of fetish could also be reserved for individual use.
Lustrous orange-brown patina.
The Hemba are a sub-group of the Luba ethnic group living in the south-east of the D. R. Congo, east of the capital. D. Congo, east of the Lualaba River, and are best known for their singiti statuary representing chiefs. Once under Luba rule, these farmers and hunters practiced ancestor worship through effigies long attributed to the Luba.
Their society is made up of several independent family clans descended from the same ancestor. The clan leaders have sculptures confirming their rank and prestige, to which offerings and libations are dedicated.
Source: Art and life in Africa , C D. Roy. and "The other face" ed. Adam Biro.
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