African art > African statues : tribal fetish, maternity > Hemba figure

Hemba figure (N° 22053)

The Hemba clan chiefs had several statues of ancestors that they venerated, such as this statuette, and to which they made offerings in order to establish their legitimacy. The cruciform headdress is delimited by a wide band.
Grainy black brown patina. Desication cracks, lack.
The Hemba, established in the south-east of Zaire, on the right bank of the Lualaba, were for a long time subjected to the neighboring Luba empire, which had on their culture, their religion and their art a certain influence. Ancestor worship, whose effigies have long been attributed to the Luba, is central to Hemba society. Genealogy is indeed the guarantor of privileges and the distribution of land. All aspects of the community are imbued with the authority of the ancestors. Thus, these are considered to have an influence on justice, medicine, law and sacrifices. The singiti statues 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, masculine such as the bukazanzi, and feminine, the bukibilo, played a major role within the clan.
(Source: "Treasures of Africa, Tervuren Museum; "Black African Tribal Art" J.B. Bacquart; "Congo River", F.Neyt)  

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Originex-collection espagnole
EthnyHemba
Countryrdc ex zaire
Material(s)wood
Height cm27
Width7 cm
Weight0.18 Kg

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