Bembe Male Figure, Democratic Republic of the Congo
Wood, shell, mirrored glass
height 7in (17.8cm)
European Private Collection
Private Collection, New York
The well-proportioned figure has naturalistic face with inset glass eyes, wearing a shell necklace around the neck above a columnar torso highlighted with raised scarifications. His diminutive arms are bent at the elbows and rest against his side. The legs are bent at the knees and the feet rest on a circular base; fine reddish brown resinous patina.
"An agrarian society in the elevated savannah of the Republic of the Congo, the Bembe are known for their small, richly carved figures representing ancestors. Raised patterns on the figures mirror the scarification designs of the Bembe themselves." (Robbins & Nooter, 2004: p. 376)