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

Statue Mangbetu (N° 15097)

Ex-Swiss African art collection.

The fan-shaped hairstyle of this female figure was worn by the Mangbetu: from a very young age, the children underwent a compression of the cranium by means of raffia ties. Later, the hair was "knitted" on strands of wicker and a band on the forehead was applied to extract the hair and produce this particular headdress that accentuates the elongation of the head. The ancients name beli these figures of ancestors stored out of sight and comparable to those belonging to their secret society nebeli . The notion of fecundity is magnified here by the rounded volumes. The back of the statue is marked with a deep erosion notch. Desiccation cracks on the headdress. Blackish oiled patina. One foot is wider than the other.

Established in the forest in northeastern Zaire, the Mangbetu kingdom expressed itself through architectural works that impressed European visitors in the 19th century. Their furniture, weapons, ornaments and statuary were imbued with a rare aesthetic quality.  

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Originex-collection suisse
Countryrdc ex zaire
Height cm35
Width10 cm
Weight0.85 Kg
Estimated dating1ère halfxx°

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