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Hemba Figure Post Ancestor Carving Congo African Art 22 Inch

$590.00
Product #: 114619
US Shipping: $39.98
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Title Hemba Figure Post Ancestor Carving Congo African Art 22 Inch
Type of Object Carving, Figure, Statue, Sculpture
Country of Origin Democratic Republic of Congo
People Hemba
Materials Wood
Approximate Age Early 20th Century
Dimensions Height: 22.5 Inches
Width: 5 Inches
On base: 23 inches tall; base is 7 inches square
Overall Condition Poor to fair. 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 worn, stained, corroded surface. post is glued to base and cannot be removed


Additional Information:  A carved figure from the Hemba people.  It reminds of the Kabeja janus figure, but this example only has one face.  Kabeja figures were not strictly considered to be portraits and represent the primordial couple. This post is said to have been carved to represent ancestors.


The Hemba live on the savannah in the southeast region of the Democratic of Congo along the Lualaba River. The Hemba are broken into a number of chiefdoms with local styles of carving that share similarities but differ in details of sculpting and in the use of body marking. This Janus figure known as Kabeja was owned by the clan head known as the Fumu Mwela. Among the Hemba there are secret societies called Bukazanzi for men and Bukibilo for the women that serve to balance the power of the clan chief. Therefore this joined sculpture of male and female joined together reflects the balance of power between the clan head and the men and women in Hemba society. These figures are present at clan meetings led by the chief (Fumu Mwela) where the figures received offerings and served as intercessors between the living and the dead and to recognize lineage heads and document title to land.