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

Female figure Cisola Chokwe, Tshokwe (N° 14723)

A statue associated with therapeutic cult type Hamba , this Chokwe sculpture embodies a feminine tutelary spirit, which should be invoked in order to benefit from its favors associated with fertility or healing. These figures were arranged around the altar muyombo, a tree at the foot of which sacrifices and offerings were once made. Sculptures such as figures made in sticks or poles ( Mbunji or mbanji), planted in the ground, were also associated. The related ethnic groups had the same type of altar, a witness before which rituals, oaths and important transactions were concluded. (Source: Chokwe, B. Wastiau)
Represented standing half-bent legs, hands placed on her shoulders, she sports a bulging hairstyle like a helmet. The physiognomy is medieval. This type of figure was often accessorized with jewelry and loincloths in raffia. On this copy a single metal loop remains. Beautiful heterogeneous patina with residual inlays of clear pigments.
Peacefully settled in eastern Angola until the 16th century, the Chokwé were then subjected to the Lunda empire from which they inherited a new hierarchical system and the sanctity of power. Nevertheless, the Chokwes never fully embraced these new social and political contributions. Three centuries later, they eventually seized the capital of Lunda weakened by internal conflicts, thus contributing to the dismantling of the kingdom. The Chokwe did not have centralized power but great chiefdoms. They were the ones who attracted artists who wanted to put their know-how at the exclusive service of the court. The artists created so many varied and quality pieces that the Lunda court employed only them.  

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Originex-collection Demanche
Material(s)wood, metal
Height cm46
Width14 cm
Weight2.25 Kg
Estimated datingmid-xx°

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