Title Hemba Memorial Male Custom Stand Congo African Art
Type of Object Standing Male Figure
Country of Origin Democratic Republic of Congo
Materials Wood, pigment.
Approximate Age 20th century
Height (in) 24
Width (in) 7
Other Dimensions Height: 24 Inches
Width: 7 Inches
Overall Condition 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 Arrested bug damage on foot
A classic Hemba memorial figure carved from heavy and dense wood in a classic
Hemba style.The figure shows much handling and good age. This wonderful figure
would be a good addition to any 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
singitis". 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 pagina 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,
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