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

Hemba statue (N° 22279)

br>The Hemba are a subgroup of the Luba ethnic group living in southeastern DR Congo, east of the Lualaba River, best known for their statuary depicting chiefs. The pieces referred to as soko mutu, suku muntu, (from Swahili, "brother of a man", and KiHemba, ibombo ya soho:" monkey face") belonged to the cult of the 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 serving as gifts, were hung in the huts as protective amulets, or, according to Father Cornet, attached to the dancer's belt. These masks were recently renamed mwisi gwa so'o, which expresses a concept that a chimpanzee spirit is embodied in the mask. Violent dances staged them during funerals and commemoration rites. The statue opposite represents a masked character. Grainy, brown and ocher patina.
A stylized version of the simian mask, this sculpture is characterized by its powerful formal contrasts, the pointed forehead under which the eyes are sheltered opposing the wide semi-spherical split jaw. Losses and abrasions of use, cracks.
Source: Art and life in Africa, C D. Roy. and "The other face" ed. Adam Biro.  

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OriginEx-collection belge
EthnyHemba
Countryrdc ex zaire
Material(s)wood
Height cm78
Width17 cm
Weight4.55 Kg
Estimated datingcirca 1960

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