This wooden statue was hand-carved in the style of the Teke people of DRC. The statue portrays a figure known as Matomba – a barrel-shaped figure that have apotropaic functions. The statue measures 10 inches tall and weighs 1.5 pounds. There is a crack on the left side of its face and the tip is missing from the left foot – please inspect photos.
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Wood, pigment, fabric, vegetable fiber
Crack on left side of face and missing tip of left foot
About the Teke People
“The Teke people settled in a territory lying across the Republic of Congo, the Democratic Republic of Congo (formerly Zaire) and Gabon. During the 15th century, they were integrated into the Tio kingdom, but attained independence in the 17th century. Today, they live in villages led by a clan elder known as the Mfumu, who answers to a hereditary land-chief called Mfumu na tzee. Their economy is mainly based on farming maize, millet and tobacco, but the Teke are also skilled fishermen and traders. They believe in a supreme God, Nzambi, whose favours can be objtained with the help of tutelary spirits. Teke artists carved figures predominantly surrounded by fetish material, known as Bilongo. These figures protect and assist the Teke and, if a fetish figure successfully demonstrates its power, its owner may detach its Bilongo, break it into several pieces and insert fragments into other figures. He will then sell the new figures to neighbouring families, leaving the original statue with an emaciated body.”