African art > Statues > Statuette Hemba

Statuette Hemba (N° 18113)

Tribal ancestor sculpture, intermediate between men and gods, endowed with an oversized head and figured in an assured attitude. The shaved skull is bounded by a frontal tiara composed of a succession of bars. The face is decorated with a beard, associated with the wisdom and experience of the grandfather. Usually made in iroko, these ritual sculptures were revered by a particular clan and stored in funeral premises in the chief's house. Oiled dark brown patina, locally abraded. Damaged base.
The Hemba, established in southeastern Zaire, on the right bank of the Lualaba, have long been subject to the luba neighbour who had a definite influence on their culture, religion and art. The cult of ancestors, whose effigies have long been attributed to the Luba, is central to the society hemba . Genealogy is indeed the guarantor of the privileges and distribution of land. All aspects of the community are imbued with the authority of the ancestors. Thus, they are considered to have an influence on justice, medicine, law and sacrifices. The statues singiti were kept by the fumu mwalo and honoured during ceremonies during which sacrifices were offered to them. Parallel to the authority of the hereditary chiefs, secret societies, male such as the bukazanzi , and female, the bukibilo , played a large role within the clan.
(Source: Treasures of Africa, Tervuren Museum; The Tribal Art of Black Africa J.B. Bacquart Congo River, F.Neyt )  

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Originex-collection suisse
EthnyHemba
Countryrdc ex zaire
Material(s)wood
Height30
Width10
Weight0.30 Kg
Estimated datingmid-xx°
Socle includedYes

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