Maternity "Phemba"

Maternity "Phemba"

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Very nice "Phemba" Kongo figure with rare hairstyle. A Maternity Figure of the same maker is to be found in the  African art museum of Brussels.

see documentation below.

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This maternity figure “Phemba” is an idealized Kongo archetype of historical feminine beauty. Her raised scarifications on the chest and back, filed teeth, beaded adornments, and prominent hairstyle denote this figure as a woman of elite status. The mother's unusual hairstyle is a rare type . This sculpture was likely placed in a shrine to honor the ancestral mothers of a lineage.  Such figures in fact hold complex meanings related to statements of spiritual power supporting society, the importance of fertility, and the promise of future generations.

  • Region: Democratic Republic of the Congo/Angola

  • Ethnic group: Kongo / Yombe

  • Material: wood         

  • Dimensions: H:24cm W: 9,5cm

  • Provenance: Belgian Collection

  • Age estimate: Circa 1900

  • Condition: Good, traces of wear due to age and use , surface probably cleaned by missionaries or others.Old break on base