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Chokwe Anthropomorphic Box (N° 14960)
This anthropomorphic container depicts the leader, mythical hero Chibinda Ilunga, wearing a headdress of a certain size, chipangula or cipenya mutwe . These hairstyles consisted of various materials, more precisely a wicker frame covered with fabric, brass, leather, beads. The chief had taught his people the art of hunting. The chiefs had a major function in the propitiation rites intended for the hunting and fertility of women, the objects being adorned with this figure thus, presumably, a protective function. In this case the bust forms a box whose circular lid consists of the head and shoulders of the character. A native restoration using a metal sheet was carried out on the back. Crusty residues (vegetable oil) line the inner flanks of the container. Satin mahogany brown patina.
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Peacefully settled in eastern Angola until the 16th century, the Chokwé were then subjected to the Lunda empire from which they inherited a new hierarchical system and the sanctity of power. Nevertheless, the Chokwes never fully embraced these new social and political contributions. Three centuries later, they eventually seized the capital of Lunda weakened by internal conflicts, thus contributing to the dismantling of the kingdom. The Chokwe did not have centralized power but great chiefdoms. They were the ones who attracted artists who wanted to put their know-how at the exclusive service of the court. The artists created so many varied and quality pieces that the Lunda court employed only them.
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