Ancestor Figure
Hemba, Democratic Republic of Congo, Early 20th Century
Provenance: Chaim Gross Foundation Collection. Sold at Sotheby’s New York, May 1992. Oscar Agard, Newark, NJ., then by descent to family.

Hemba sculptural traditions are predominantly devoted to the representation of male ancestor figures. The use of symmetry and equilibrium is present in the refined quality of this example. The long neck, small mouth, and linear nose are beautifully carved and give off a calm and serene nature. The swelling belly with arms resting by the figure’s sides is a common stance for these types of figures. A cosmogram, a four point geometrical shape, is present on the back of the figure’s head. This symbol was important to Hemba cosmology as it evokes the four directions of the universe and the crossroads where the living and spirit worlds meet.

Height: 21 inches
IN 10-13-16 / SOLD


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