Yombe Commemorative Mother and Child Figure, Democratic Republic of the Congo
height 14 1/2in (37cm)
Private Collection, Germany
Private Collection, New Mexico
A letter of authenticity from Raoul Lehuard (July 2006) accompanies the work, in which he dates it to 1920-1930.
An idealized archetype of historical feminine beauty, the mother figure has raised scarifications in geometric patterns on the chest and back, filed teeth and a prominent hairstyle; she is a woman of elite status. The mother's peaked hairstyle is echoed by the coiffure of the child cradled in her lap. The eyes are colored with white and black pigment which may have originally been glass inlay or mirrored glass.
An unusual feature of this figure is the divided chest which runs the entire length of the torso. A figure with this similar feature is in the Tervuren Museum (Verswijver 1996: fig 15)