African art > African statues : tribal fetish, maternity > Hemba statue
Hemba "Buli" cup carrier (N° 20417)
Sculpted in the style of the famous "master of Buli" of Hemba descent, this Luba/Hemba statue, represented in an attitude of concentrated meditation, presents a "mboko" cup destined for the sacred kaolin, an indispensable element for mediation with the spirits. The particularity of its plasticity characterizes the sculpture of the Buli region.
Brown-black patina, cracks of desiccation and abrasions.
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The Hemba settled in southeastern Zaire. Once under Luba rule, these farmers and hunters practice ancestor worship through effigies long attributed to the Luba.
The statues singiti were kept by the fumu mwalo and honored during ceremonies during which sacrifices were offered to them. Alongside the authority of the hereditary chiefs, secret societies, male such as the bukazanzi , and female, the bukibilo ,played a great role within the clan.
(Source: "Treasures of Africa, Museum of Tervuren)