Tribal art > African Jar > Kongo box
Kongo box (N° 22011)
Ointment box with lid sculpted in the round with the effigy pfemba, illustrating an African Kongo motherhood.
The woman seated cross-legged, named phemba or pfemba, symbol of the mythical ancestor, would be associated with fertility cults. The child on her lap would embody the matrilineal transmission of power.
Black satin patina.
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The Solongo cultures of Angola and Yombé were largely influenced by the Kongo kingdom, from which they borrowed naturalistic statuary and religious rites by means of carved fetishes nkondo nkisi.
The Yombe are established on the west coast of Africa, in the south-west of the Republic of Congo and in Angola. Their statuary includes remarkable maternities whose use remains little known.