African art > African statues : tribal fetish, maternity > Mangbetu statue

Figure of female ancestor Mangbetu (N° 21631)

This sculpted figure, illustrating a Mangbetu elegance devoid of artifice, shows a naked woman, wearing only a cap. This headdress emphasizes the elongation of the skull, typical of the group, which was progressively deformed by the compression of the head from a very young age. Smooth shiny patina, micro cracks.
The ancients named beli anthropomorphic figures embodying ancestors, stored out of sight, and comparable to those belonging to their secret society nebeli . Satin brown patina with mahogany highlights, the wood grain appears in the lighter areas.
The Mangebetu kingdom in northern Congo produced architectural works that impressed European visitors in the 19th century. Their furniture, weapons, ornaments and statuary were marked by a rare aesthetic quality. The ethnologist G.A. Schweinfurth in 1870 described their symmetry and refinement, while at the same time witnessing the ritual murders and human sacrifices practiced by "the people of the elongated heads".  

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OriginCollection P. Malisse
EthnyMangbetu
Countryrdc ex zaire
Material(s)wood
Height cm59
Width12 cm
Weight2.75 Kg
Estimated datingrécolté in-situ 2001

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