Among the divination tools used by the nganga, this sculpture was gripped by the central frame to slide back and forth in response to questions posed to the ancestors. The impulse of the movement, which was attributed to the spirits, was supposed to make the consultant discover the source of his problems in order to find a solution. The Luba, related to the Songye through common ancestors, also used this type of object as part of their divination ceremonies.
Beautiful nuanced light brown patina. Small erosions.
The Tabwa ("scarify" and "write") constitute an ethnic group present in the South-East of the DRC, around Lake Tanganyika. The tribes of this region, such as the Tumbwe, worship Mipasi ancestors through sculptures held by chiefs or sorcerers. A magic charge (dawa) was frequently introduced at the top of the head of the statues. Soothsayers-healers used this type of object to reveal witchcraft and protect against malevolent spirits.
Simple farmers without centralized power, the Tabwa federated around tribal chiefs after coming under the influence of the Luba. It was mainly during this period that their artistic current was expressed mainly through statues but also masks. The Tabwa practiced ancestor worship and dedicated some of their statues to it. Animists, their beliefs are anchored around the ngulu, nature spirits present in plants and rocks.
Source: "Treasures of Africa" ed. Tervuren Museum.
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