A Hemba ancestor figure

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Lot 2600
An exeptional Hemba ancestor figure
height 31in

US$ 50,000 - 70,000£ 39,000 - 55,000
An exeptional Hemba ancestor figure
Democratic Republic of Congo, of classical form, the standing male figure holding a knife in his proper right hand with left hand to abdomen. Cloth skirt covering the genitals and legs. Encrusted patina with areas of the old and lustrous black surface beneath showing through.
height 31in

Footnotes

  • Provenance:
    Charles Ratton

    Exhibited:
    Governors State University, IL, 2003
    Krannert Art Museum, IL, 2003
    Belger Art Foundation/University of Missouri-Kansas City, MO, 2004
    Tall Grass Art Association, IL, 2005

    Published:
    Perani, J. and Smith F., The Visual Arts of Africa: Gender , Power, and Life Cycle Rituals. Prentice hall, 1998. Fig. 8.24

    Bourgeois and Rodolitz, REMNANTS OF RITUAL: SELECTIONS FROM THE GELBARD COLLECTION OF AFRICAN ART, Ethnos, New York, 2003, p.47, fig.102

    Among the Hemba, ancestor effigies called Singiti, of a particular lineage segment were hidden within the family compound in a separate shelter. In ancestral rites, the sculptures were the focus of invocations recalling heroic deeds of the ancestor. The demeanor of this example, sword in hand, reflects wisdom and interior calm and the four-lobed hairdo signifies the four directions and crossroads where spirits gather. The swelling stomach has associations with lineage continuity but in general such figures embody intelligence, strength, energy as well as fertility.
A Hemba ancestor figure
A Hemba ancestor figure
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