African art > African statues : tribal fetish, maternity > Statue Hemba
Figure of ancestor Hemba Singiti (N° 18638)
Ex-collection of French African art.
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Symbolizing a local chief, this Hemba effigy, whose characteristics were once attributed to the Luba, was carved to create a link with the guardian spirits. The Hemba clan leaders had several statues of ancestors whom they venerated and to which they dedicated offerings in order to establish their legitimacy. The position is classic, hands valuing a protruding abdomen, symbol of lineage. The sophisticated headdress is bounded by a tiara.
Black brown Patine. Satin surface. Split base.
The Luba (Baluba in Tchiluba) are a people of Central Africa, established in the south-east of the R.D.C, on plains surrounded by streams. Their cradle is the Katanga, specifically the region of the Lubu River, so the name (Baluba, which means the Lubas). They were born from a secession of the Songhoy ethnic group, under the leadership of Ilunga Kalala who killed the old king Kongolo, who has since been revered as a python. In the 16th century they created a state, organized in a decentralized chiefdom, which stretched from the Kasai River to Lake Tanganyika. The chiefdoms cover a small territory without a real border that includes no more than three villages.