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Yombe Figure Mother with Children African Art 19 Inch

Product #: 108733
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Title Yombe Figure Mother with Children African Art 19 Inch
Type of Object Maternity, Carving, Statue, figure
Country of Origin Democratic Republic of Congo
People Yombe
Materials Wood, pigment
Approximate Age Mid 20th century
Dimensions Height: 19 Inches
Width: 8 Inches
Depth: 6 Inches
Overall Condition Good. Most of our pieces have spent decades on at least two continents, and have been treasured by several owners.   Small splits, scrapes and cracks are a normal part of their patina attesting to their age and extensive use.  We examine each piece carefully when we receive it and report any damage we find in our listings.  Please look carefully at the pictures which may also reveal condition and damage.
Damage/Repair cracks, small chips, scuffs, general wear; see pictures for details.

Additional Information:  A wonderful Yombe figure of a kneeling mother with two children.

Maternity figures of the Kongo group, which includes the Kongo, Yombe and Vili, are among the most famous and sought-after in the world. Though typical in design, the small size of our figure is quite unusual. The historical roots of the Kongo group, and their great king "Ne Kongo," can be traced back to the 13th century. Without much competition, they expanded steadily until they controlled a vast part of West Central Africa, including most of present day Angola, Gabon, Democratic Republic of the Congo and the Republic of the Congo. The arrival of the Portuguese and their missionaries in the 16th century ended their expansion, especially southward. The Kongo were also one of the major sources of slaves to the New World. Today, though greatly diminished, the approximately three million Kongo can still be found in Angola, DRC and the Congo. Kongo statuary is justifiably famous, and falls into three categories: the power figures, known as "nkondi nkisi" are the most recognized, as they can be enormously impressive and complex, with mirrors, nails, blades, feathers, and any number of other additives placed upon an already dramatic wooden statue. These figures are manipulated by the "nganga," or healer, to protect one from bad luck, witchcraft, or any number of personal reasons. Magical statues help bridge the gap between the known and the unknown, and ease everyday tensions in the village.

Also famous and quite common are the mother and child figures. Carved for obvious reasons, they are often of great beauty. The figures and masks from this group can be very difficult to tell apart, as they share multiple stylistic similarities. Mother and child figure represents the female ancestor taking care of her descendants.This commemorative figure would have been used to honor the maternal spirit who brings prosperity and fertility. Among the Kongo people, woman is considered as the chief of the family. Thus, female ancestor is the guarantor of the fecundity and continuity of the clan or family. Such sculptures would be kept on a family or local shrine where she would be receiving sacrifices and offerings.

For a wonderful discussion and similar examples, see A SURVEY OF ZAIRIAN ART: THE BRONSON COLLECTION, by Cornet.