African art > African statues : tribal fetish, maternity > Statue of Congo
Kongo Phemba Maternity (N° 14293)
A subgroup of the Kongo , the Yombe, based on the west coast of Africa, in the south-west of the Republic of Congo and in Angola, are characterized by a statuary in which various figures of motherhood abound: round headdresses or pointed, mouth open on slender teeth, sometimes glazed gaze in which the pupils are clearly visible, characters kneeling, standing, sitting. Relief scarifications adorn the bust of the effigies, such as the bust of this Phemba statue. These cuts, made using needles, knives and razors, were then sprayed with coal or ash to accelerate healing. The mother sits in a suit on a circular base, an infant on her lap. The distinctive elements of the Kongo are the cheffal cap "mpu", the wearing of bracelets and a band compressing the chest. This mediating object was used in the rites associated with female fertility. Spotted surface, dark inlays on light wood.
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In the 13th century, the Kongo people, led by their king Ne Kongo, settled in a region at the crossroads of the borders between present-day DRC, Angola and Gabon. Two centuries later, the Portuguese came into contact with the Kongo and converted their king to Christianity. Although monarchical, the Kongo political system had a democratic aspect because the king was actually placed at the head of the kingdom following an election held by a council of tribal governors. This king, also known as ntotela, controlled the appointment of court and provincial officials.
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|Country||rdc ex zaire|
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