211043 - Antique Rare Tribal used African Bakongo statue - Congo.
Extremly Rare Antique Expressive African figure from the Bakongo, Congo
Such figures are used for personal protection.
Hand carved from a single piece of wood.
Height are 28 cm.
This Bakongo statue was collected between 1930 and 1950 and ended up in my private collection in 1992.
The Kongo may number about three million people.Present in three countries – the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Angola and the Congo Republic – the Kongo occupy the region at the mouth of the Congo River. Numerous subgroups go to form the vast Kongo cultural complex, among which are the Vili, the Woyo and the Yombe. These tribes produce a diversity of artistic styles, with Kongo art being one of the best known.
The Kongo demonstrate the extreme complexity of their traditions on major occasions, such as the investiture of a chief or at funerals. The Kongo pantheon was small: one all-powerful god who gave healing powers to the king, to the nganga, and to the heads of cults. Besides their textiles of great renown, the Kongo had a funerary art of decorated steles and funerary statues in stone, very often depicting the chief seated cross-legged in a posture of reflection. Some of these statues were placed on tombs to aid the spirits of the dead to join the world of the deceased.Wood sculptures represent royal wives, hunters, musicians, and healers. Their postures vary: sometimes they kneel in a position of respect, the head bent slightly backwards; women might be depicted seated with the child they hold by the neck or whom they are nursing. The cheeks are round, the face, carefully rendered, is realistic. The patina is smooth, the bust scarified. Elaborate geometrical patterns occur on the pedestal or the body, where they may be mingled with fine scarification marks. The figures were used to ward off danger to mothers during delivery and to protect the health of the child. The commemorative statues known as phemba were designed for women who had lost a child and wanted another. These carvings, generally sophisticated and very graceful, were thought to favor such a happy event.