African art > African statues : tribal fetish, maternity > Makonde Bust

Makonde Bust (N° 22849)

Ex-Belgian African art collection.
African female figure whose face presents the traditional deformation of the lips due to the labret. The tattoos were traced with beeswax, and scarified patterns were also made for aesthetic purposes. These statues symbolizing an ancestor would refer to the creation, according to which the first Makonde man would have carved a female image who became the mother of his children and who has been revered ever since.
Eroded brownish patina, desiccation cracks and lacks. The Makonde, a matrilineal Bantu population of northern Mozambique and southern Tanzania, wore helmet-masks called lipiko, mapiko, during initiation ceremonies for young people. The Makonde worship an ancestor, which explains the abundance of relatively naturalistic female statuary. In addition to facial masks, midimu, the Makonde also produce body masks featuring the female bust, exalting fertility.  

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OriginEx-collection belge. Récolté in-situ 1994
Material(s)wood, cuir, copper et perles
Height cm52
Width16 cm
Weight2.20 Kg

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