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Hemba Bowl Bearer Congo Africa 39 Inch Gelb Collection

Regular Price: $495.00

Special Price: $295.00

Product #: 111564
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Title Hemba Bowl Bearer Congo Africa 39 Inch Gelb Collection
Type of Object Memorial Figure
Country of Origin Democratic Republic of Congo
People Hemba
Materials Wood
Approximate Age 20th Century
Dimensions Height: 37 Inches
Width: 9 Inches
Depth: 11.5 Inches
Overall Condition fair
Damage/Repair Large cracks in side of head repaired and stable. scuffs, cracks, and chips in the surface


Provenance:  From the collection of Howard Gelb, St. Paul, MN collector of African Art, who was also a businessman, lawyer, and philanthropist. Mr. Gelb died in 2015, at the age of 96.

Additional Information:  A large Hemba kneeling female figure holding a bowl in her hands.  The figure is well-carved with a unique face for a Hemba statue, but the deep and profound cross shape in the back of the coiffure suggests it is indeed of Hemba hands. 


The most common of the Hemba ancestor figures are called "singitis" . Much rarer are the warrior figures, like the stunning example presented here. The "Fumu Mwalo" would consult these warrior figures, and also make blood sacrifices to them, pouringthe blood--usually from a chicken-- over the statue. This would result in a thick, encrusted patinaThe 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. It iso nly 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 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.


For more information on the Hemba, as well as a picture of a rare warrior figure, see Neyt F,. La Grande Statuaire Hemba du Zaire., Louvain-La-Neuve