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Hemba Style Zoomorphic Statue 29.5″ – DR Congo – African Art

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This statue was hand-carved in the style of the Hemba people of DR Congo. The statue features a zoomorphic male figure with hair on his face and abdomen. The statue measures 29.5 inches tall and weighs 14.5 pounds. He is missing hair around his eyebrow and genital areas. There is some cracking, scuffing and wear and tear throughout – please inspect photos.

Type of Object

Figure, statue

Country of Origin

DR Congo

Ethnicity

Hemba

Material

Wood, pigment, fabric and hair

Approximate Age

Unknown

Height (Inches)

29.5"

Width (Inches)

9”

Depth (Inches)

8.5"

Weight (Pounds)

14 lbs

Overall Condition

Some cracking, scuffing and general wear and tear throughout.

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Tribe Information

About the Hemba People

“During the 18th century, the Hemba people, led by their chief Niembo, migrated from the south-west and settled on the right bank of the Lualaba River, in a region of fertile savannah. Today, they number 80,000 and are divided into large clans which, by definition, are families with a common ancestor. The hereditary chief of each clan is called the Fumu Mwalo and is the keeper of the ancestor figures. He renders justice and his status as clan head means that he has a privilege of receiving numerous gifts. The Hemba live mostly from farming manioc, sesame, yams and beans. Secret societies such as Bukazanzi for the men and Bukibilo for the women counterbalance the Fumu Mwalo’s power.

Two types of Hemba mask have been identified so far: the first is the rarest and displays a perfectly symmetrical human face with a small mouth and a linear nose set between two slanted eyes. The second type of mask imitates a monkey face with a large, pierced, crescent-shaped mouth and pointed nose. The function and meaning of these masks remain obscure.”

Source:
Baquart, Jean-Baptiste. The Tribal Arts of Africa. New York: Thames and Hudson Inc. 1998. Print.