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Yombe Maternity Figure with Infant Congo African Art 31 Inch

Regular Price: $1,500.00

Special Price: $850.00

Product #: 117711
US Shipping: $62.98
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Title Yombe Maternity Figure with Infant Congo African Art 31 Inch
Type of Object Maternity, Carving, Statue, figure
Country of Origin Democratic Republic of Congo
People Yombe
Materials Wood, pigment
Approximate Age early 20th century
Dimensions Height: 31.5 Inches
Width: 11 Inches
Depth: 10 Inches
33 inches tall on base; base is 11 x 12 inches
Overall Condition fair to good
Damage/Repair scraped and stained surface, some chips and shallow cracks


Additional Information:  Equipped with a custom base for immediate display.


Maternity figures of the Kongo group, which includes the Kongo, Yombe and Vili, are among the most famous and sought-after in the world.  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.  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.


CT 9/17