African art > African Dolls > Tabwa doll

Tabwa doll (N° 20296)

African tribal art of the Tabwa, objects of prestige.

Used by the female initiation society, this limbless human figure has breasts and a protruding navel, scarifications comparable to the traditional ones of tribal members. Greyish brown patina. The Tabwa ("to scarify" and "to write") are an ethnic group present in the southeast of the DRC. Simple farmers with no centralized power, they federated around tribal chiefs after being influenced by the Luba. It is mainly during this period that their artistic current was expressed through statues but also masks. The Tabwa practiced ancestor worship and dedicated some of their statues named mkisi . Animists, their beliefs are anchored around the ngulu, nature spirits present in plants and rocks. The Luba dominated the Tabwa in the region along Lake Tanganyika, between Zaire and Zambia. "Tabwa" or "to be bound" likely refers to the system of slavery once practiced by Islamic traders.
The Tabwa later regained their independence through the wealth provided by the ivory trade. Just as the influence of the Luba is perceptible in Tabwa societies and rituals, Tanzanian tribes have also left their mark on Tabwa statuary in terms of geometric decorative motifs. The Tabwa also venerated the Bampundu twins.  

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OriginEx-collection Timmerman
Countryrdc ex zaire
Height cm28
Width4 cm
Weight0.20 Kg
Estimated datingmid-xx°
Socle includedYes

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