Tribal art > African Statues > Tschokwe statue
Tschokwe statue (N° 18458)
br>Among the rarest pieces of the Chokwe, or Tschokwe, this Chokwe female figure, usually associated with the Hamba type of therapeutic cult, embodies a female ancestor who is supposed to guarantee fertility or healing. These statues were arranged around the muyombo altar, a tree at the base of which sacrifices and offerings were once performed. Carvings such as figures made in sticks or poles (Mbunji or mbanji ), planted in the ground, also appeared. Related ethnic groups had this same type of altar, a witness before which rituals, oaths and important transactions were concluded.
The glass bead ornaments magnify the dark sheen of the patina.
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Erosion of the base, residues of ritual plastering.
Peacefully settled in eastern Angola until the 16th century, the Chokwe were then subjected to the Lunda empire from which they inherited a new hierarchical system and the sacredness of power. Nevertheless, the Chokwe never fully adopted these new social and political contributions. Three centuries later, the Chokwe eventually took over the capital of the Lunda, which had been weakened by internal conflicts, thus contributing to the dismantling of the kingdom. The Chokwe did not have a centralized power but rather large chiefdoms. It was these chieftainships that attracted artists who wished to put their skills at the exclusive service of the court. The artists created so many varied pieces of such quality that the Lunda court only employed them.
Source: "Chokwe", B. Wastiau; "Chokwe and their Bantu Neighbours" ed.J. David and G. Merzeder.