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African art - Hemba:

The Hemba are an ethnic group established in south-eastern Zaire, on the right bank of the Lualaba River. They practice agriculture and hunting. For a long time they were subjugated by their neighbours, the Luba, and inherited some of their religious, cultural and artistic practices. The Hemba worship the ancestors and thus give them great power in the areas of justice and medicine. In addition, they honour them through statues of them. The Singiti statues were glorified during ceremonies and sacrifices. Outside, they were guarded by the fumu mwalo. The Hemba chieftaincy is organised according to heredity. However, secret societies have a great deal of decision-making power within the village. These include the female bukibilo society and the male bukazanzi. The Hemba have produced many everyday objects but also masks and statuettes. Their works are highly valued.


Hemba Singiti head
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African art > African statues : tribal fetish, maternity > Hemba head

This head, a fragment of a singiti statue sculpted by the bwana mutombo , offers a triangular face bordered by a thin beard. The realistic lines are masterfully crafted.
Usually made in iroko, these objects were venerated by a particular clan and stored in funeral facilities in the chief's house.
Locally chipped grainy patina. Erosions and cracks.
Height on base: 43 cm.
The Hemba have long been subject to the neighboring Luba Empire which has had a definite influence on their culture, religion and art. The cult of ancestors is central in Hemba society. Genealogy is in fact 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 ...


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Soko mutu Hemba Mask
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African art > African mask, tribal art, primitive art > Hemba Mask

The spirit of a primate would be embodied in this hemba mask split with a wide rictus. The prominent forehead houses long eyelids, wrinkled by the grimace. A long nose extends vertically. Mate surface, rough, residual ochre deposits.
Only two types of Hemba masks have been identified: that of an anthropomorphic type with regular features, whose pointed chin recalls statuary, and those depicting monkeys, the soko mutu, and whose functions remain little known, but which probably belonged, according to J.Kerchache, to the secret societies bugabo and bdambudye . The smallest copies (about 20 centimetres) are said to have been carried by hand during rituals intended for the protection of the home and fertility. In addition to the kabeja janiform statuettes, the statues of male ancestors, ...


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Ancestor figure Hemba Singiti
African art > African statues : tribal fetish, maternity > Hemba Statue

This small Hemba protective figure, whose characteristics were once attributed to the Luba, embodies an ancestor. Made to communicate with the tutelary spirits, this sculpture was part of the "mvidye", intermediaries between the spiritual world and individuals, who could also embody nature spirits among the Luba of Kasai. Hemba clan chiefs had several statues of ancestors that they venerated and to which they dedicated offerings in order to establish their legitimacy. This figure adopts the classical position, hands emphasizing a protruding abdomen, symbol of lineage. It also has a sophisticated headdress, hollowed out in the shape of a cross. Dark brown piece whose projections are abraded by use. Satin surface. The Luba (Baluba in Tchiluba) are a people of Central Africa, ...


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180.00

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

This sculpture formed by four faces extending from a handle comes under the powerful fetishes kabeja, also used among the Luba, and, among the Kasongo living in contact with the Luba, Hemba and Songye populations, who name them kakuji. The top of the piece is pierced by a cavity in which a bijimba , a charge composed of magical elements from the natural, human and plant environment, were implanted. Each of the clans had a kabeji sculpture intended for protection and healing. But this type of fetish could also be reserved for individual use.
Lustrous orange-brown patina. The Hemba are a sub-group of the Luba ethnic group living in the south-east of the D. R. Congo, east of the capital. D. Congo, east of the Lualaba River, and are best known for their singiti statuary ...


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Hemba Command Stick
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African art > Stick of command, chieftaincy > Hemba Sceptre

This scepter has different sculpted sections forming an iconographic language relating to the history of the ancestor or that of his clan, such as the kibangos of the Lubas. The dominant central subject, appearing in a round-bump above the janus head, represents a singiti. Dark brown satin patina. Erosions.
The Hemba, established in southeastern Zaire, on the right bank of the Lualaba, have long been subject to the luba neighbour who had a definite influence on their culture, religion and art. The cult of ancestors, whose effigies have long been attributed to the Luba, is central to the society hemba. Genealogy is indeed the guarantor of the privileges and distribution of land. All aspects of the community are imbued with the authority of the ancestors. Thus, they are considered to ...


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Hemba Kihona stool
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African art > Chair, palaver seat, throne, stool > Hemba stool

Supporting a circular tray with her fingers placed in a fan shape, a female figure sculpted in the style of the "master of Buli" forms the "receptacle of a deceased sovereign chief" (Luba, Roberts). The prominent scarifications, in spikes, dot the bust where the umbilicus forms the "center of the world" associated with lineage, and on the lower abdomen, horizontal, they symbolize fertility. This stool named lupona ,or kioni or kipona , kiona and again kitenta ("seat of authority"), according to the sources, constitutes the meeting point of the ruler, his people, and the protective spirits and ancestors, where past and present are symbolically and spiritually mixed. It once formed the seat on which the king mulopwe was enthroned. The seats were laid out on leopard skins during ...


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Masque Hemba Market Muntu
African art > African mask, tribal art, primitive art > Hemba Mask

The spirit of a primate is embodied in this African Hemba mask with a wide grin. Dark patina, residual crusty inlays.
Only two types of Hemba masks have been identified: an anthropomorphic type with regular features, whose pointed chin is reminiscent of statuary, and those depicting monkeys, the soko mutu, whose functions remain little known, but which probably belonged, according to J. Kerchache, to the bugabo and bambudye secret societies. The smallest specimens (about 20 cm) would have been carried in the hand during rites intended for the protection of the home and for fertility. In addition to the janiform kabeja statuettes, the statues of male ancestors, kept by the hereditary chief of each clan, the fumu mwalo, are called songiti. The Hemba settled on the vast ...


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140.00

Ancestor figure Singiti Hemba/Luba
African art > African statues : tribal fetish, maternity > Statuette Hemba

This statue of African art personifies a male ancestor. Carried by large feet established on a circular base, it is represented frontally in an assured attitude. The apparent sex marks the value of lineage and the hands are classically positioned on either side of the protruding abdomen named difu, or 'lineage segment'. ...


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290.00

Effigy of royal ancestor Hemba Singiti
African art > African statues : tribal fetish, maternity > Hemba statue

This tribal art hemba sculpture commemorating a local chief, an intermediary between men and the gods, stands out with its haughty bearing, long ringed neck, and bulbous abdomen. The body is tilted backwards, the position of the head with carefully detailed features, showing the pride of the ancestor. Velvety patina, desiccation cracks.

Usually made of iroko, these ritual sculptures were venerated by a particular clan and stored in a funerary room in the chief's house.
Dull grayish brown patina. Desiccation cracks, and numerous erosions.
The Hemba, established in southeastern Zaire on the right bank of the Lualaba River, were long subject to the neighboring Luba empire, which had a definite influence on their culture, religion, and art. Ancestor worship, ...

Hemba Singiti statue
African art > African statues : tribal fetish, maternity > Hemba statue

A local chief's effigy believed to facilitate contact with tutelary spirits, the African statuette Hemba, opposite, was originally attributed to the Luba. Hemba clan leaders had several ancestor statues that they venerated, and to which they dedicated offerings in order to establish their legitimacy. The attitude is classical, hands resting on a protruding abdomen, symbol of lineage. The cruciform headdress is delimited by a wide sculpted band like the beard. Light brown patina with ochre residue. Desiccation cracks. The Hemba, established in southeastern Zaire on the right bank of the Lualaba River, were for a long time subject to the neighboring Luba empire, which had a definite influence on their culture, religion and art. Ancestor worship, whose effigies have long been ...


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350.00

Hemba Singiti Statuette
African art > African statues : tribal fetish, maternity > Hemba Statuette

This Hemba sculpture of modest size, an effigy of a local chief, was originally attributed to the Luba. It was supposed to facilitate contact with the tutelary spirits. Hemba clan chiefs had several statues of ancestors that they venerated and to which they dedicated offerings in order to establish their legitimacy. The position is classical, hands emphasizing a protruding abdomen, symbol of lineage. The cruciform headdress is delimited by a headband. Smooth brown patina with golden reflections. Satin surface.
The Hemba, established in southeastern Zaire, on the right bank of the Lualaba, were for a long time subject to the neighboring Luba empire, which had a definite influence on their culture, religion and art. Ancestor worship, whose effigies have long been attributed to the ...


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180.00

Hemba "Buli" cup carrier
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African art > African statues : tribal fetish, maternity > Hemba statue

Sculpted in the style of the famous "master of Buli" of Hemba descent, this Luba/Hemba statue, represented in an attitude of concentrated meditation, presents a "mboko" cup destined for the sacred kaolin, an indispensable element for mediation with the spirits. The particularity of its plasticity characterizes the sculpture of the Buli region. Brown-black patina, cracks of desiccation and abrasions.

The Hemba settled in southeastern Zaire. Once under Luba rule, these farmers and hunters practice ancestor worship through effigies long attributed to the Luba. The statues singiti 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, male such as the ...


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Calabash with female motif Hemba / Luba
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African art > African statues : tribal fetish, maternity > Hemba fetish

These bankishi (sing. nkishi ) carvings were used as part of the bugabo , a society devoted to hunting, healing, and warfare. A female figure, symbolizing the sacred relationship of woman and royalty, surmounts a calabash decorated with feathers. Dark oiled patina. The Hemba have long been subject to the neighboring Luba Empire, which has had a definite influence on their culture, religion and art. Ancestor worship is central to Hemba society. Genealogy guarantees privileges and the distribution of land. All aspects of the community are permeated by the authority of the ancestors. For example, the ancestors are considered to have influence over justice, medicine, law and sacrifice. Skilled in carving, the Hemba produced mostly statues of ancestors singiti , embodying chiefs, ...

Effigy of royal ancestor Hemba Singiti
African art > African statues : tribal fetish, maternity > Hemba statue

This Hemba sculpture commemorating a local chief, an intermediary between men and the gods, stands out by its physiognomy and its attitude, which shows a certain serenity. A diadem composed of a succession of bars delimits the largely shaven head. A sophisticated headdress ends at the back of the head in a cruciform element. The face is embellished with a fine crenellated beard, evoking the wisdom and experience of the forefather.

Usually made of iroko, these ritual sculptures were venerated by a particular clan and stored in a burial space in the chief's house. Dull grayish brown patina. Desiccation cracks, and numerous erosions.
The Hemba, established in southeastern Zaire on the right bank of the Lualaba River, were for a long time subject to the ...

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

This tribal art hemba miniature commemorating a local chief, an intermediary between men and gods, stands out for its camped attitude, carried by reduced legs. The mouth is symbolically inlaid with a nail.

Generally made of iroko, these ritual sculptures were venerated by a particular clan and stored in the funeral rooms of the chief's house. Lustrous brown patina. Desiccation crack. The Hemba, established in southeastern Zaire on the right bank of the Lualaba River, were long subject to the neighboring Luba empire, which had a definite influence on their culture, religion, and art. Ancestor worship, whose effigies have long been attributed to the Luba, is central to hemba society. Genealogy is indeed the guarantor of privileges and land distribution. All aspects ...


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240.00

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

Instrument of divination used by the diviner during divination rituals to establish, according to him, contact with the ancestors. Incorporating the category of nkisi, nkishi objects, it is supposed to be endowed with a secret power, a receptacle of spiritual energy.
The Hemba, established in southeastern Zaire, on the right bank of the Lualaba, have long been subject to the neighboring Luba empire, which has had a definite influence on their culture, religion and art. Ancestor worship, whose effigies have long been attributed to the Luba, is central to hemba society. Genealogy is indeed the guarantor of privileges and land distribution. All aspects of the community are permeated by the authority of the ancestors. Thus, they are considered to have influence over justice, medicine, ...

Grelot Hemba / Luba
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African art > Used objects, pulleys, boxes, loom, awale > Grelot Hemba

Ritual object used during divination sessions, consisting of two small, superimposed gourds topped with a female figure. The latter, kneeling, has a hollowed-out gourd in the cup. Seeds have been introduced into the dried fruit, producing a sound when the object is shaken.
The Hemba have long been subject to the neighbouring Luba empire, which has had a definite influence on their culture, religion and art. The cult of ancestors is central to hemba society. Genealogy is indeed the guarantor of the privileges and distribution of land. All aspects of the community are imbued with the authority of the ancestors. Thus, they are considered to have an influence on justice, medicine, law and sacrifices. Mastering sculpture with talent, the Hemba have mostly produced statues of ancestors ...


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Ancestor figure Hemba/ Luba Singiti
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African art > African statues : tribal fetish, maternity > Hemba Statue

Sculpted in the style of the famous 'master of Buli' of Hemba ancestry, this male figure Luba or Hemba, whose feet were literally 'gnawed', personifies an ancestor. The hands are arranged on either side of the abdomen named difu, or 'lineage segment'. ...

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Tabouret Luba/ Hemba Lupona, Kihona
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African art > Chair, palaver seat, throne, stool > Hemba Seat

Carrying the circular tray of a seat, a female figure forms the "receptacle of a deceased sovereign chief" (Luba, Roberts). The protruding, spiky scarifications surround the umbilicus, "center of the world" associated with lineage, and those of the lower abdomen, horizontal, symbolize fertility. This stool named lupona ,or kioni or kipona , kiona , depending on the source, constitutes the meeting point of the ruler, his people, and the protective spirits and ancestors, where past and present are symbolically and spiritually mixed. It once formed the seat on which the king mulopwe was enthroned. The seats were laid out on leopard skins during the investiture of the new chief. Only after sitting on it did his speech assume a royal and divine character. Apart from these exceptional ...

Figure of ancestor Hemba Singiti
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African art > African statues : tribal fetish, maternity > Statue Hemba

Ex-collection of French African art.
Symbolizing a local chief, this Hemba effigy, whose characteristics were once attributed to the Luba, was carved to create a link with the guardian spirits. The Hemba clan leaders had several statues of ancestors whom they venerated and to which they dedicated offerings in order to establish their legitimacy. The position is classic, hands valuing a protruding abdomen, symbol of lineage. The sophisticated headdress is bounded by a tiara.

Black brown Patine. Satin surface. Split base.
The Luba (Baluba in Tchiluba) are a people of Central Africa, established in the south-east of the R.D.C, on plains surrounded by streams. Their cradle is the Katanga, specifically the region of the Lubu River, so the name (Baluba, which means the ...


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Statue Hemba Singiti
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African art > African statues : tribal fetish, maternity > Statue Hemba

This statue of African art Hemba whose characteristics are close to Luba creations, personifies a male ancestor. Camped on short, stocky lower limbs, in an unplaced position, it is shown standing on a circular base. Position of expectation, of power, it emanates a certain force of the character. Witness of lineage, sex is highlighted, hands are classically positioned on either side of the protruding abdomen named difu, or "segment of lignage". ...


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