African art > Statues > Statue of Congo
Maternity figure Kongo Yombe Phemba (N° 13938)
Ex-collection Swiss African art.
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The Solongo cultures of Angola and Yombé were largely influenced by the Kongo kingdom, from which they borrowed naturalistic statuary and religious laughs through carved fetishes nkondo nkisi.
This figure of woman, wearing a dignitary's headdress, symbol of the mythical ancestor presumably associated with fertility cults, surrounds himself with a group of miniatures represented in various positions. The two figures on his shoulders feature an abdominal cavity in which a magical charge, bilongo, or relics have been introduced. The woman is seated on a seat supported by caryatids, which a janiform dog, koso , mediator between the living and the dead, also supports. Diamond scarifications cover the character's back. These cuts, made using needles, knives and razors, were then sprayed with coal or ash to accelerate healing and form salient patterns. Desication crack. Mahogany brown satin patina.
In the 13th century, the Kongo people, led by their king Ne Kongo, settled in a region at the crossroads of the borders between present-day DRC, Angola and Gabon. Two centuries later, the Portuguese came into contact with the Kongo and converted their king to Christianity. Although monarchical, the Kongo political system had a democratic aspect because the king was actually placed at the head of the kingdom following an election held by a council of tribal governors. This king, also known as ntotela , controlled the appointment of court and provincial officials. The nganga, both healers, were in charge of religious activities and mediation with the God called Nzambi through consecrated figures named nkisi . Ref. In: "The Maternity in the Black African Art" Massa; ", The Tribal Art of Black Africa" Bacquart.
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|Material(s)||wood, verre, plant fibre, copper|
|Estimated dating||2ème halfxx°|
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