African art > African Statues > Statue of Congo
Maternity figure Kongo Pfemba (N° 17261)
African ritual objects have various appearances, such as this tribal sculpture of the Kongo , where a female effigy is about to breastfeed her child. She embodies the ancestor of the clan, a mediating figure, as evidenced by the angular scarifications of the bust. The Yombe adorned their textiles, mats and loincloths, of this type of pattern of orange motifs in relation to proverbs glorifying work and social unity. The open mouth exhibits traditionally lined teeth, while the glazed gaze emphasizes the ancestor's ability to perceive the afterlife, to discern hidden things. This type of statuette also adorned the top of the prestige canes, mwala . Satin patina with warm reflections. Cracks.
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Appding the Kongo group, the Yombe established on the west coast of Africa, in the south-west of the Republic of Congo and in Angola. Their statuary includes remarkable maternity. In the Kongo , the nganga took care of the rituals by activating a spiritual force with a nkondi (pl. nkissi). The term nkisi was then used to refer to the terms of 'sacred' or 'divine'. The most influential category of 'minkisi kongo' consisted of instruments to help regional leaders enforce the law. A metal object was nailed to a wooden figure as soon as a decision was made, each nail evoking a particular case: litigants, divorce, conflicts between communities... The nkondi wanted to ensure that the agreement to resolve the conflict was properly implemented, and that individuals feared the consequences of their behaviour. Its appearance thus personified the force residing there. From the second half of the 20th century, minkondi minkisi were strategically placed along the coasts of the Loango kingdom to protect against European incursions. Among the most powerful, the Mangaaka was considered the 'king' and 'master', supreme arbiter of conflicts and protector of communities, and who became the most ambitious and monumental sculptural genre. Source: 'The Kongo Gesture' Ed. Dapper Museum and Treasures of Africa Tervuren Museum.
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