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Hemba Male Memorial on Stand Congo African Art

Regular Price: $290.00

Special Price: $95.00

Product #: 77180
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Title Hemba Male Memorial on Stand Congo African Art
Type of Object Carving
Country of Origin DR Congo
People Hemba
Materials Wood
Approximate Age second half 20th century
Dimensions 20 inches H. x 6 inches H.
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 general wear, hole in base, old insect damage in head, chips


Additional Information: This superb figure of a standing male is carved of  dense wood. The surface shows signs of long  use and some age. The figure has traditional cross hairstyle, beard going up to ears, and bent knee stance.This Hemba ancestor figure has all it takes to be qualified as a masterpiece. Pieces of this quality are rarely found on the market. This one would add a unique piece of art to any serious collection. 


Hemba number around 80,000 and live on the right bank of the Lualaba River west of Lake Tanganyika. They have been heavily influenced by their neighbors to the south, the Luba. Elements from the Luba are still present in the socio-political organization of the Hemba. The Hemba are divided into large clans headed by a hereditary leader known as the "Fumu Mwalo," who administers justice and watches over the ancestor figures. It is only in the last quarter century that their art has been identified as distinct from that of the Luba. Thus, many masterpieces in museums and famous collections have had to be reclassified. The most common of the Hemba ancestor figures are called "singiti". These figures can be up to 90cm high, usually male and in standing position with the hands along the navel, elaborate coiffure commonly cruciform, elongated or round face with serene expression. They were kept in special houses or in the house of the clan leader, "Fumu Mwalo". "Fumu Mwalo" would consult these ancestor figures, and also make offerings and sacrifices to them some important decision is to be made or every time the community needs ancestors help. The warm colored patina comes as a result of extended us through offerings and touching. Singiti figures serve as intercessors between the living and the dead and as effigies of ancestor to recognize lineage heads and document title to land. Singiti figures are not strictly considered to be portraits of particular individuals. They depict rank, social status and ethnic identity through stance, hair-style and dress.


Recommended Reading: Francois Neyt, LA GRANDE STATUAIRE HEMBA DU ZAIRE, Louvain-La-Neuve, 1977


I have examined this piece and agree with the description.
Niangi Batulukisi, PhD.