Tribal art > African Statues > Hemba statue
Female figure Hemba Singiti (N° 20359)
Sculpture evoking a female ancestor whose massive head wears a tiara incised with bars. At the back of the head, the hairstyle is organized in a cruciform element. The body is proportionally compacted, the hands joining the abdomen. Usually made of iroko, these ritual sculptures were venerated by a particular clan and stored in a funerary room in the chief's house.
Locally matted patina. Desiccation cracks, missing parts.
The Hemba, established in southeastern Zaire on the right bank of the Lualaba, were long subject to the neighboring Luba empire, which had a definite influence on their culture, religion, and art. Ancestor worship, whose effigies have long been attributed to the Luba, is central to hemba society. Genealogy is indeed the guarantor of privileges and land distribution. All aspects of the community are permeated by the authority of the ancestors. Thus, these are considered to have influence on justice, medicine, law and sacrifice.
The singiti statues were kept by the fumu mwalo and honored in ceremonies during which sacrifices were offered to them. Alongside the authority of the hereditary chiefs, secret societies, male such as the bukazanzi , and female, the bukibilo ,played a great role within the clan.
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(Source: "Trésors d'Afrique, Musée de Tervuren; "L'Art tribal d'Afrique noire" J.B. Bacquart; "Fleuve Congo", F.Neyt; "100 people of Zaire and their sculpture " M.L. Félix )
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|Country||rdc ex zaire|
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