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

Kwese/Mbala Giteke figure (N° 21103)

Ex. Belgian African tribal art collection.
Among the many statues of the Mbalas, this type of statuette was part of the "pindi", sculptures integrating the chief's treasure. Small stocky character, hands joined under the chin, it has characteristics also kwésé, including the scarified features of the face. Grainy patina, cracks of desiccation. The Mbala came from Angola in the 17th century and settled in northwestern Zaire and in the east among the Pende, Suku, Pende, and Yaka. Formerly matrilineal, they were clans led by the maternal uncle. The chief was in charge of the ancestor cult, although it was quite limited. Following a retreat of a few days, royal insignia and charms were given to him, intended to combat powers opposing the hunt, social peace, and the harvest.
The Kwésé are established among other tribes such as the Mbala and the Hungaan along the banks of the Kwango River in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Their sculpture is inspired by that of their neighbors and sometimes made by the Mbalas at the request of the Kwese. The headdress shares great similarities with the mukote headdress which, among the Pende of the West with whom the Mbala shared the mukanda circumcision rituals, became a symbol of the struggle against colonization at the beginning of the 20th century ("Congo Masks", ed. M.L. Félix, p.114) Ref : "L'Art africain" ed. Mazenod ; "Trésors d'Afrique" (p.309) ed. Musée de Tervuren ; "Art tribal d'Afrique noire." JB Bacquart; "Umbangu, Art of the Congo at the Royal Museum of the Belgian Congo" ed. Cultura  

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OriginEx. coll. belge L. Van Liere
EthnyMbala
Countryrdc ex zaire
Material(s)wood
Height cm22
Width7 cm
Weight0.48 Kg
Estimated datingmid-xx°

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