This wooden statue was hand-carved in the Teke or Yaka style. The statue portrays a male figure in a standing position with his arms tucked at his side. The statue measures 29.5 inches tall and weighs 13.5 pounds. There is some cracking, scuffing and chipping throughout but the piece is sturdy – please inspect photos carefully.
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Some cracking, scuffing and chipping.
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.”
About the Yaka People
“Today, the 300,000 Yaka people live along the Wamba River. They migrated from Angola during the 16th century and settled under the control of the Kongo kingdom. In the 18th century their lands were annexed by the Angola-based Lunda people, but by the 19th century the Yaka had regained their independence. Yaka society is tightly structured and headed by a chief of Lunda origin, the Kiamfu, who delegates responsibilities to ministers and lineage chiefs, Unkwagata. Young men are expected to pass through various initiation stages, including circumcision. The tribe lives principally from hunting, although subsidiary farming is undertaken by the women. Yaka artistic tradition is rich and various, but much of it has been informed by their neighbours - the Suku, the Kongo, the Holo and the Teke. Nevertheless, Yaka statues do have common characteristics- an upturned nose and applied pigments.
Baquart, Jean-Baptiste. The Tribal Arts of Africa. New York: Thames and Hudson Inc. 1998. Print.