African art > African statues : tribal fetish, maternity > Statuette Mbole
Statuette Mbole / Yela (N° 16705)
The attitude of this sculpted figure is characteristic of the Mbole and Yela figures of the original Mbole Lilwa: legs bent, arms bent unnaturally, hands resting on the thighs. Locally abraded velvety brown patina.
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Lualaba province had several similar ethnic groups with similar associations. The Mboles are known for their statues embodying, according to D. Biebuck, hanged, named ofika . The lilwa , an association with dogmatic initiation rites, had a custom of judging and condemning to hanging those guilty of violations of the imposed rules. These offences ranged from murder to adultery to breaking the secrecy surrounding the lilwa . Disgraced, the bodies of convicts had no funeral sat and were buried in the forest. It was during the final ceremonies, presided over by a notable isoya , that these statues were displayed, presented lying on a litter box.
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